Paul Furlong is Professor of Clinical Neuroimaging at Aston University and Director of the Aston Brain Centre.
At the Centre, there is a MEG (magnetoencephalography) scanner. And here’s a paragraph lifted from Wikipedia as to what it actually does:
Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a technique for mapping brain activity by recording magnetic fields produced by electrical currents occurring naturally in the brain, using very sensitive magnetometers.
In a nutshell, a MEG scanner is non-invasive and highly sensitive. It is, as these things go, pretty non-threatening too.
The MEG at Aston is usually used for mapping the brain activity of children for clinical purposes.
Paul’s involvement with the New Optimists, however, began when we approached him asking if we could map Jim Parle‘s brain. (Jim is a GP and Professor of Primary Care at Birmingham Med School — so he’s in the business of training medics.)
Paul was sufficiently intrigued by what we were trying to find out that he agreed to design experiments to test (what the two Profs insist on referring to as) an “assertion”.
This “assertion” is that the neurological wiring between Jim’s right fingertips has been honed in its connectivity to his brain through frequent physical examinations of patients.
If this “assertion” has some degree of validity, then there might well be implications for training medical students to examine real patients, and also in the development of haptic models for them to practise on.
We hope to carry out the first experiment in the spring of 2013. Of which more later . . .