Magnetoencephalography: Detection of the Brain's Electrical Activity with a Superconducting Magnetometer

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  11 Feb 1972:
Vol. 175, Issue 4022, pp. 664-666
DOI: 10.1126/science.175.4022.664


Measurements of the brain's magnetic field, called magnetoencephalograms (MEG's), have been taken with a superconducting magnetometer in a heavily shielded room. This magnetometer has been adjusted to a much higher sensitivity than was previously attainable, and as a result MEG's can, for the first time, be taken directly, without noise averaging. MEG's are shown, simultaneously with the electroencephalogram (EEG), of the alpha rhythm of a normal subject and of the slow waves from an abnormal subject. The normal MEG shows the alpha rhythm, as does the EEG, when the subject's eyes are closed; however, this MEG also shows that higher detector sensitivity, by a factor of 3, would be necessary in order to clearly show the smaller brain events when the eyes are open. The abnormal MEG, including a measurenment of the direct-current component, suggests that the MEG may yield some information which is new and different from that provided by the EEG.

Stay Connected to Science