particularly in the area of monitoring neuropharmacologic response, is likely to make it applicable for defense purposes. For example, as the ability to monitor neurochemistry in vivo and in near real time is developed with advanced high-field MRS and related technologies, the possibility arises of developing state-dependent neurochemical biomarkers for stress and anxiety as well as their pharmacologic modulation in a dose response fashion.


Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a completely noninvasive, nonhazardous technology for functional brain mapping, localizing and characterizing the electrical activity of the CNS by measuring the associated magnetic fields emanating from the brain. Every electrical current generates a magnetic field. However, unlike an electrical signal, magnetic fields are not distorted by traveling through the skull, and the source of the summated magnetic fields can be triangulated within a few millimeters. MEG provides functional mapping information on the working brain.

Modern MEG scanners use as many as 300 superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID)12 detectors, allowing very fast acquisition and extremely high localization of the source of the electromagnetic signal. The information provided by MEG is entirely different from but complementary to the information provided by structural imaging techniques like CT or MR imaging. While MRI and CT provide excellent anatomical images, MEG measures correlates of neurological function. The advantages of MEG over fMRI and PET include the measurement of brain activity with higher temporal and spatial resolution. Its disadvantages include its greater cost than fMRI. It also requires a specialized technical team with broad expertise in the acquisition and processing of complex data and requires very precise positioning requirements.

Transcranial Ultrasonography

While transcranial ultrasonography operates on the same principle as the diagnostic ultrasound imaging of a fetus in utero, it is more difficult to obtain high-quality images of the brain because the propagation of sound waves is impaired by bone. However, the skull is thin enough in a few “monographic windows” (Duscheck and Schandry, 2003) to provide a path for the ultrasonic signal and can provide accurate real-time measurements of blood flow velocity. The transorbital window, located above the zygomatic arch (the “temple”), is used to image the posterior, anterior, and medial cerebral arteries along with a few of the branches that provide blood flow to specific areas of the brain.


SQUID: Superconducting Quantum Interference Device, supercooled electronic component designed to detect extremely small changes in magnetic fields.

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