Research MEG Facility
The Research Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Facility provides the SickKids Research Institute and local scientists access to a non-invasive functional neuroimaging technique that allows investigation of human brain activity on a millisecond timescale.
MEG allows for advanced spatial-temporal analyses of brain activity that affects cognitive or sensory functions. Operating completely silent, it's ideal for clinical groups and children.
Researchers at SickKids have shown the value of MEG in assessing complex cognitive functions (such as memory, inhibition, language processing, emoting regulation), and its sensitivity in determining atypical brain function in a wide range of clinical populations.
World leaders in MEG research
SickKids scientists at the MEG facility focus on understanding normal brain development and function, and how they impact psychiatric, psychological or neurological disorders.
This facility is unique in a Canadian paediatric setting, led by SickKids scientists that are recognized as world leaders in the field of linking sensitive MEG measures of brain function with behaviour across a wide range of disorders, including autism, brain tumours, epilepsy, concussion, very preterm born, stroke, and more.
Equipment and resources
The MEG Facility has a full set of visual, auditory and somatosensory stimulus devices, as well as an eye-tracking system, and a portfolio of cognitive task protocols that have been used over the years.
The CTF cortical MEG system is the heart of the facility, comprising 151 axial gradiometer sensors in a head-shaped helmet. Each sensor is an extremely sensitive, superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID), which measure the magnetic fields generated by the human brain.
The site is staffed with a full-time research technologist and supported by a booking clerk. An adjacent reception area, change room, bathroom and behavioural assessment room, are shared with the Research MRI facility, and are available to researchers and participants. We also work closely with SickKids' Diagnostic Imaging Clinical Research Office.
In the past nine years, the facility has accommodated 54 studies from 12 SickKids researchers and 70 internal and external colleagues. The scientists are on the forefront of MEG applications for sophisticated protocols using the latest analytical approaches.
The facility was established through grant funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to the Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain and Mental Health at SickKids.