Can this scanner read your mind?

August 28, 2014

The jury is still out as to whether we can actually use it to read minds, but one thing is sure: the MRI scanner in the Brains Unlimited scanner lab can display connections in our brains very accurately.

Scannexus, part of the Brains Unlimited, is an imaging platform for scientists and businesses and is based on the Maastricht Health Campus. There are 3 scanners there, the foremost of which is the 9.4 tesla MRI scanner. This scanner is 3.5 metres long and 3 metres high and weighs no less than 50 tons. It's housed in a 3-floor building and there are only 4 scanners as powerful as this in the entire world. Apart from all the peripheral equipment and medical facilities, the building also comprises about 610 tonnes of steel to contain the ultra-strong magnetic field.

The 9.4 scanner produces very high-resolution images that clearly show how much blood and oxygen flows to various areas of the brain when they are active. Even the smallest details are visible such as brain structures and any brain damage. For the time being, the scanner will still be used only for scientific purposes such as research into the detection and treatment of a lot of common ailments such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia and MS, which mainly start in the brain. It is also being used to map (unconscious) decision-making processes. Neuro-marketers want to use this to gain more insight into how people decide to buy a particular product. Research in the fields of oncology, orthopedia and cardiology can also benefit considerably from powerful MRI scanners. And that's just the start.

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A company profile from Scannexus @ Maastricht Health Campus