Brain Imaging (Week 10)
On Monday, we visited the Aalto NeuroImaging Infrastructure (ANI) in Otaniemi. Of the four modalities inside the structure, only one was completely new for me. I had visited the MEG core (Magnetoencephalography) once before with another course in Aalto. I was also a test subject in a study on my freshman year, where I had a measurement session in both the MEG core and at the Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanner for a functional imaging session. I had previously seen Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation even demonstrated live, at the Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) if I remember correctly. Even though the visits were somewhat familiar, they did support my other ongoing courses, since I have been somewhat handling MRI, MEG and EEG data on those. It was a good reminder on what these machines look like and their operational side.
The introduction to Aalto Behavioural Laboratory contained the most new information for me, and especially their both on-site and portable eye-tracking software demonstrations stuck with me. The portable eye-tracking, which consists of a pair of glasses, that look somewhat like 3D-glasses you wear at the movies, and a portable transmitter that connects to a computer. Here is a demonstration. These can be used to study for example eye movements during reading, watching something or human interaction, and (distracted) driving. There researchers can see the amount of time spent looking at the road, dashboard, side and rear view mirrors, and possibly a cellphone or other distractions.
To wrap up, it was an interesting visit, and it was good to refresh one’s memory on what possibilities we have in Aalto research-wise and what possibilities the different neuroimaging equipment can offer in research and even treatment.