Author: Elisa Medeiros

MRI Safety Week July 26 – August 1, 2021

The last week in July is universally recognized as “MR Safety Week,” inspired by the anniversary and 2001 tragic MRI-related death of Michael Colombini, age 6, resulting from a steel oxygen cylinder being brought into the MRI room during his exam. The initial goal of this week was to prevent such a tragedy from happening again and has expanded into a week-long event giving us a chance to refresh our safety education and highlight some of the issues we all face in the MR environment.

 

Given that ‘magnetic’ is the first part of the name, many people know that MRI scanners attract magnetizable metals to them, potentially with alarming force. But do you know the other risk(s) that our staff actively manage to help keep MRI participants, patients and workers safe? See if you can pick out the other risk (or risks) that is (are) particular to MRI…

 

  • An MRI can act on your inner-ear and give you a sense of vertigo / make you dizzy.
  • MRI’s magnetic fields can cause non-MRI-friendly mechanical medication pumps to malfunction, potentially delivering too much, or too little medication.
  • During MRI imaging, energies deposited into the patient’s body can slightly elevate their core temperature.
  • During MRI imaging, certain electromagnetic pulses have been known to ‘trick’ implanted pacemakers into delivering inappropriate & potentially dangerous ‘corrective’ shocks.
  • During MRI imaging, some wires in the tube with the patient can heat up and burn the MRI patient.
  • During MRI imaging, sometimes electrical currents will flow through the patient’s body, concentrating in small spots where the patient will develop burns.
  • Implanted objects made out of magnetizable metals can pull or tear the tissues that they’re next to when attracted by the MRI’s magnetic field.

 

If you read through them all, and had a hard time narrowing the list down to one or two, that’s probably because this is a bit of a trick question… all seven of the above items are real risks / hazards that come from MRI in addition to pulling metal objects across the room.

As always, if you ever have a question about the safety of an object in the MRI environment, please contact us. We are happy to help!

Elisa Medeiros, Manager, MRI Services

Morgan Brennan, MRI Technologist

Tanda Dumas, MRI Technologist

Johnny Hernandez, MRI Technologist

Skyler Sklenarik, IBRAiN intern

Content courtesy of Tobias Gilk and ISMRM

Fumiko Hoeft and Colleagues Receive NIH U24 Grant

Five new research networks totaling $3.13 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health will allow investigators to refine and test key concepts that advance the study of emotional well-being.

Fumiko Hoeft, Sandra Marshall, and Crystal Park, in collaboration with UConn InCHIP, UConn Neag School of Education, and UConn Research, have just received funding for their NIH U24 grant exploring the underlying mechanisms of mind-body interventions and measurement of Emotional Well Being. Utilizing imaging resources available at BIRC, this project will illuminate the role of emotional well-being in mind and body interventions as both an outcome itself and as a mechanism in improving mental and physical health outcomes. (Grant U24 AT011281-01; NICHD, OBSSR, and ODP are co-funding partners)

In addition to UConn, the list of research networks includes University of Alabama, University of Wisconsin-Madison, UCSF, and University of Rochester.

For more information, visit UConn Today

More information about the scope of this grant can be found on the NCCIH Research Blog

 

 

 

BIRC awarded CLAS equipment grant for EEG bundle

BIRC has been awarded a CLAS equipment grant for an “EEG Bundle” to be used with BIRC’s hdEEG system. This includes a combination of a Cedrus Stim Tracker and replacement of EEG caps.

The Cedrus Stim Tracker is a tool that accurately aligns the experimental stimuli presented and neuronal activity. While EEG purports to have excellent temporal resolution, it is only true if the experimental stimuli are generated and presented, and neural activity collected in sync. This is not as easy and automated as it should be; currently, even with the latest hdEEG systems, without a tool like the Cedrus Stim Tracker, as much as 30ms of variability is observed that can occur unpredictably and/or drift over time. This is an unacceptable large variability compared to the neural time-scale of a couple of milliseconds. Cedrus Stim Tracker tracks the precise onset and offset of various stimuli for every trial, and marks it directly in the EEG data file. This not only makes the researchers accurately analyze data and prevents “data smear”, but also facilitates data analyses by automating the tedious process of cross-checking and marking data manually. This is now becoming a necessary tool for all EEG experiments, especially those that require fine-grained temporal information, have multi-modal information (e.g. auditory and visual stimuli) delivered to the subjects, and eliminates the complexity and unreliability of other synchronization methods.

Ask a Brain Scientist!

In these free sessions, Prof. Fumiko Hoeft will engage with children about the intricacies of the brain. Children (and parents!) will learn about brain science on everyday topics, ask questions they might have, and get a glimpse into how research is done by a scientist.

For kids aged 8-13, but anyone with a child’s heart for learning is welcome!

Each session can stand on its own. When children attend all sessions, they will receive a Junior Neuroscientist certificate.

To register and for more information, please visit Haskinsglobal.org

This program is supported by UConn, UCSF, Haskins Laboratory, Yale University, Made by Dyslexia, and The International Dyslexia Association

 

 

MRI Scanner Operation Training for Qualified Candidates


The Brain Imaging Research Center now offers qualified candidates the opportunity to learn how to operate the Siemens Prisma 3T MRI Scanner to perform brain research studies. This training will consist of three components:
Didactic – All candidates will be required to attend a two-hour class about MRI safety tailored to issues that can be encountered during data acquisition. This training will include: Preventing radiofrequency (RF) burns; working with Specific Absorption Rates (SAR); proper participant preparation; quench emergency procedures. Note: a basic knowledge of MRI physics is necessary for this class.
Instrumentation – All candidates will be required to attend a two-hour class to learn basic scanner operation, including: User platform orientation (Syngo VE11C); coil selection and handling; participant positioning; BOLD screen operation; Eye Link operation; response box selection and operation; image transfer to NiDB or XNAT; basictroubleshooting.
Scanner Operation – All candidates will be required to successfully complete a minimum of twenty research scan sessions that include fMRI (BOLD) imaging, structural sequences, and DTI (diffusion tensor imaging) with direct supervision by an MRI Technologist. Scanning studies currently active at BIRC may complete this requirement. Additional scan sessions may be required at the discretion of the supervising technologist.
After successful completion of the above training, the candidate will be allowed to scan his or her own studies without direct supervision. Note: An MRI technologist must be in the facility for all scan sessions.
Candidates must maintain their status by completing a minimum of one study per month. Failure to do so will require a minimum of two directly supervised scan sessions per missed month.
Training is expected to begin the week of October 28 2019, allowing the candidate to be prepared to scan his or her own study during the spring semester.
Qualified candidate prerequisites:
      • Post doc with a commitment to remain for a minimum of one year (must be endorsed by PI)
      • Graduate student who has completed their Masters degree and must be endorsed by PI
      • Formal knowledge of basic MRI physics
      • Completion of Level 1 and Level 2 Safety Training
      • CPR certified (must provide documentation prior to scanning humans)

Online classes available at redcross.org/take-a-class/online-safety-classes

Interested candidates can apply for this training opportunity by providing the following information and documentation:
      • PI name, duration of contract, and written endorsement
      • Proof of formal basic MRI physics education
      • Any previous MRI experience
      • Study name, projected start date, and expected number of participants
Important dates:
      • Application submission: October 7-October 18 2019
      • Candidate acceptance notification: October 25 2019
      • Didactic and Instrumentation training: November 2019 (dates TBD)
      • Scanner Operation: November 2019 until completed
Please send the requested information to:
 

Elisa Medeiros, R.T.(R)(CT)(MR)
MRSO (MRSC™)
Manager, MRI Services
University of Connecticut
Brain Imaging Research Center
2 Alethia Drive Unit 1271
Storrs CT 06269-1271

Talk: Dr. James V. Haxby, Dartmouth College

James V. Haxby, PhD

Dartmouth College

Distinguished Speaker

Wednesday, February 20 2019 3:30-5:00PM Bousfield A106

Abstract: Multivariate pattern analysis (MVPA) has revealed that information is encoded in finegrained patterns of cortical activity that can be measured with fMRI. Study of cortical functional connectivity also has revealed fine-grained topographies in the connectome that are closely related to these patterns of activity. The surface structure of functional cortical topographies, however, allows considerable variability across brains for encoding the same information. We introduced a new conceptual framework with computational algorithms that make it possible to model the shared information that is encoded in fine-grained functional topographies that vary across brains. This framework, “hyperalignment”, models shared information as a high-dimensional information space, rather than attempting to model a shared or canonical topographic structure in the physical space of cortical anatomy. Hyperalignment is based on computational algorithms that discover this space and calculate transformations that project individually-variable patterns of neural activity and connectivity into the common model information space.

Research Focus: My current research focuses on the development of computational methods for building models of representational spaces. We assume that distributed population responses encode information. Within a cortical field, a broad range of stimuli or cognitive states can be represented as different patterns of response. We use fMRI to measure these patterns of response and multivariate pattern (MVP) analysis to decode their meaning. We are currently developing methods that make it possible to decode an individual’s brain data using MVP classifiers that are based on other subjects’ data. We use a complex, natural stimulus to sample a broad range of brain representational states as a basis for building high-dimensional models of representational spaces within cortical fields. These models are based on response tuning functions that are common across subjects. Initially, we demonstrated the validity of such a model in ventral temporal cortex. We are working on building similar models in other visual areas and in auditory areas. We also plan to investigate representation of social cognition using this same conceptual framework.

 

Visitors from UCHC are encouraged to use the UCHC-Storrs shuttle service. Talks can also be joined remotely. Please contact us if you are interested in meeting with the speaker.

 

UConn BIRC Trailblazer Award Announced

Issue Date

December 19, 2018

Background

Since the opening of the University of Connecticut (UConn) Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC) in June 2015, there has been an increase and diversification of user-base, neuroimaging-related extramural grants, and neuroimaging expertise of students and faculty. However, there is still room for greater utilization of BIRC, which presents opportunities for BIRC to offer the resources to perform high-profile and neuroimaging-intensive research that other fully occupied imaging centers cannot offer.

Objective

The BIRC Trailblazer Award was created to allow research teams to perform cutting-edge research and/or perform research that will benefit the BIRC community at-large. The objective of the 2019 BIRC Trailblazer Award is to fund: (1) high-risk high-reward projects with exceptional innovation that lead to raising the visibility of UConn, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and BIRC; and/or (2) projects that will benefit the BIRC community at-large (e.g. methods development). The project is intended to lead to high-profile peer-review publications, release of a public database, and/or work that is cited and utilized by large-number of UConn researchers in their grants and manuscripts. The project should also lead to large-scale and high-profile extramural grant applications shortly after the end of the funding period.