The process, which recently won a major international award, provided the genesis for a new company, Cerebral Data Systems. The company's debut was announced today (June 20).
University of Oregon psychologist Don Tucker says signals of electrical activity in the human brain become distorted when they pass through the skull, much like light through frosted glass. Measurements of brain activity using electrodes attached to the skull, such as an EEG (electroencephalograph), produce "a smeared picture of brain activity," according to Tucker.
Such distortion hinders treatments that require precision in locating brain electrical activity. To correct for the distortion, physicians must approximate the source of electrical signals by analyzing and averaging EEG readings collected over extended periods of time, or open the skull and attach sensors directly to the inner cranium.
University scientists have used high-performance computing to eliminate the distortion caused by the skull and have developed a computational algorithm to translate data generated by an EEG into a three-dimensional model that pinpoints the location of the activity. A physician or diagnostician then could use this "functional image" to make a medical decision.
Co-developers of the process are Allen Malony, NIC director; Serge Turovets, an NIC computational physicist; and Adnan Salman, a University of Oregon computational science doctoral student. The university has filed for a preliminary patent on the process.
"This new computational advance gives us a window on the brain that could be a breakthrough in the precision of localizing the brain's electrical
Contact: Kathy Madison
University of Oregon