Why is MEG necessary?
MEG helps us to learn more about brain functions during early infancy in healthy children. Information gained from MEG recordings can allow us to help patients with neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, and Down syndrome.
Does MEG have any risks?
There are no reports of injuries or harm to patients who have had MEG. MEG is silent and non-invasive. It does not produce any magnetic fields and does not involve any ionizing radiations.
The magnetic signals made by brain activity are very small compared to those from the earth and electrical machines. The MEG scanner is placed in a room that protects from environmental noise called a magnetically shielded room (MSR).
MEG is very sensitive to metal. Metal inside the MSR can change the results. Your child may not be able to have a scan if he/she is wearing dental braces that cannot be removed, has metal implants, a pacemaker, a stent, a shunt, and/or aneurysm clips.
Your child will be asked to remove, if possible, any metal objects that he/she has: glasses, jewelry, hair pins, removable dental braces, hearing aid.
How long is the visit?
The entire set-up and test will take approximately 3 hours.
How do I get my child ready?
Wash your child’s hair the night before the test. Do not use any oil, gel, or hairspray as that can change test results.
Your child should take all normal medicines before the test.
On the day of the MEG recording, your child can eat meals but should not have any drinks or food that contain caffeine, such as soda, or chocolate.
Before starting the MEG recording, we can provide a change of clothes (hospital gowns) for your child if he/she is wearing metallic clothing.
Depending on the type of research study, we may schedule a scan during your child’s natural nap time or even request to skip a nap for sleep recordings. In this case, please do not allow your child to fall asleep while commuting to the hospital.
If your child cannot sleep during the MEG, we will not be able to do a sleep study. In this case, we may need to schedule for another visit, if desired.
What should I bring to the MEG appointment?
It is helpful to bring something to comfort your child, such as blankets, bottles, favorite stuffed animals, or pacifiers. Please make sure there is no metal in those items, as they cannot go into the magnetically shielded room.
What should I do when I arrive at the hospital lobby?
Inside the lobby of the main building, you will see a large video screen. Once you arrive at the screen, please give us a call at 617-355-8941 and someone will come meet you.
Here's what a typical visit looks like:
Step 1: Trained MEG technicians will perform the MEG recording and explain each step to you and your child
Step 2: Sensors will be placed on the head to measure head movement.
Step 3: Using a digital scanner, technicians will scan your child's head to create a 3D image of the head's shape.
Step 4: Electrodes with skin friendly tape will be placed around the eyes to measure eye movements and on the stomach to measure heart beats.
Step 5: In some studies, an electroencephalography (EEG) cap with washable gel will be placed on your child's head.
Step 6: The technicians will position your child on the bed of the BabyMEG scanner and stay with him/her in the room. You may also remain with your child in the magnetically shielded room. Alternatively, you may observe the recording via a TV system.
Step 7: Another technician will perform the recording from outside of the MSR where he/she can see and talk, via intercom system, with the people inside the MSR during the scan.
Step 8: A researcher will be inside the MEG room together with your child during the recording. Meanwhile, you will be able to see your child on a TV screen.