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System Optode and Cap for Near Infrared Diffuse-Optical Functional Neuroimaging

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) has been used with great success to monitor the hemodynamic response related to neural activity in the brain; however, several disadvantages such as expense, size and immobility have necessitated a quest for alternative methods. Diffuse Optical Tomography (DOT), in which near-infrared light and computer modeling is used to noninvasively map hemoglobin concentration and oxygenation changes on the brain, is among the latest emerging medical imaging technologies. However, existing optodes, the optical equivalent of electrodes, have been bulky, cumbersome and at times painful to the subject.

DOT offers several technical advantages. Unlike MRI, which requires a subject to remain stationary, DOT provides a portable method of measurement, allowing for neuroimaging during non-stationary activities. DOT also offers superior temporal resolution over fMRI, which permits detailed evaluation of the time-course of the hemodynamic response. Concurrent measurement of fMRI and DOT offers the best of both with the high spatial resolution fMRI and temporal resolution of DOT.

Dartmouth engineers have developed a new, compact and comfortable optode that can be configured with a cap, for DOT. The innovative cap facilitates measurement of brain activity patterns in mammalian or human subjects. Where correlation of electroencephalographic (EEG) measurements with DOT is desired, the cap combines optodes with an array of EEG electrodes, permitting coincident EEG and DOT imaging. The DOT cap alone or in combination with EEG is also compatible with fMRI for concurrent measurement of up to three neuroimaging technologies. The cap is expected to be of use in functional neuroimaging as well as in clinical evaluation of epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular disease, and tumor diagnosis.

This technology is claimed in the published PCT Application No. PCT/US09/41560. We are seeking an industrial partner for the continued development and commercialization of this technology.
(Ref: J446)

Last Updated: 7/24/12