Thursday, February 02, 2012
CHGD brings non-invasive brain imaging technology to Michigan. fNIRS: functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy
fNIRS for Developmental Neuroscience and Non-Invasive Brain Imaging with Infants, Children and Adults
The Center for Human Growth and Development brings a new non-invasive brain imaging system to The University of Michigan: functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). This technology offers a non-invasive and child-friendly method for observing how the human brain works and how it develops from infancy to old age. Video Demo
The Importance of fNIRS Technology to Research on Early Childhood Development
Similar to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), fNIRS non-invasively measures changes in the brain’s blood flow as a correlate for neuronal activity. The system uses near-infrared light to estimate cortical changes in oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin. The use of light renders the system quiet, relatively tolerant to motion and child friendly. fNIRS has been used successfully in studies of perceptual, cognitive, social and emotional development, in healthy and clinical populations. It is also being used to study the brain’s cardio-vascular health (e.g, hemorrhaging in neonates). The system offers excellent temporal resolution (greater then 50 Hz), as well as easy real-time data visualization. Similar to Electroencephalography systems (EEG), fNIRS is roughly the size of a desktop computer with a simple headset optode array that is placed on the child’s or adult’s head. Small size and portability means that fNIRS systems can be taken out of the lab and into school systems and community settings, if needed. fNIRS is neither loud nor confining, and thus allows for the study of awake and behaving infants, children, and adults, as well as otherwise sensitive populations contraindicated by fMRI.
Our goal at CHGD is to use fNIRS to advance the study of human brain development, create innovative non-invasive neuroimaging approaches, and build miltimodal fNIRS/fMRI and fNIRS/EEG research capabilities.
Images from Kuhl et al., 2008
fNIRS is made possible by funding from the Office of the Vice President for Research, Center for Human Growth and Development, College of Literature Science and the Arts, College of Engineering, Biomedical Engineering/Functional MRI Laboratory, the departments of Linguistics, Otolaryngology/Audiology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Psychology, and Radiology, and the Schools of Dentistry and Kinesiology.