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Apr 18, 2006

High Speed, Light-based Brain Activity Detector

From Neuromarketing

Neuroscientists Gabriele Gratton and Monica Fabiani at the University of Illinois Beckman Institute’s Cognitive Neuroimaging Laboratory are using very intense near-infrared illumination to measure neuronal activity in the cortex:


The EROS is a new non-invasive brain imaging method that we are developing at the CNL. Our research has determined that this technique possesses a unique combination of spatial and temporal resolution. This makes it possible to use EROS to measure the activity in localized cortical areas. For this reason, EROS can be used to analyze the relative timing of activity in different areas, to study the order of recruitment of different cortical areas, and to examine the connections between areas. These are all questions that are difficult to study with other brain imaging methods.

According to these researchers, the EROS system can measure very short intervals of activity, down to the millisecond level. Its biggest shortcoming is the inability to detect activity more than a few centimeters deep, but it is a relative unexpensive technique (as compared to fMRI and PET) that is not invasive to the test subject.

More information about EROS can be found in this paper entitled: "Fast and Localized Event-Related Optical Signals (EROS) in the Human Occipital Cortex: Comparisons with the Visual Evoked Potential and fMRI" (Neuroimage 6, 168–180 (1997)

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