- Brain tumours
- Chronic kidney disease
- Gum disease/Edentulousness
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Barrett's Oesophagus
- Bipolar Disorder
- Blood Brain Barrier
- Lung Gene Therapy
- Medical Devices
- Neuromuscular Physiology
- Parkinson's Disease
- Toxicology Research
- Abdominal pain studies
- Brain cell imaging
- Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
2012 – 2017 Strategic Grant
Translational humane research programme using MEG for non-invasive studies of the human brain
Professor Paul Furlong, Dr Gareth Barnes and Dr Caroline Witton
Professor Furlong is Professor of Clinical Neuroimaging and MEG Laboratory Director at the Neurosciences Research Unit, Aston University, Birmingham.
Dr Gareth Barnes and Dr Caroline Witton are both Senior Lecturers and members of the Neuroimaging Research Group at Aston University.
The Dr Hadwen Trust is providing strategic support to Aston Neurosciences Research Institute for the maintenance and running costs of the Aston MEG (magnetoencephalography) system for the next five years. During this time MEG will be used in a programme of humane research-related studies.
Much current neurophysiology research is carried out by using invasive techniques in animals (non-human primates, cats and rodents). One major reason for this reliance on animal research is the paucity of alternative methods to measure neural activity in the human brain. The Neuroimaging Research Group at Aston is exploring neuropharmaceutical and neurophysiological alternatives to animal research in the study of brain, behaviour and pharmacokinetics.
At present approximately 80% of neurophysiology research is animal based and extrapolated to humans. If these studies could be carried out with human subjects there would be a number of benefits: the replacement of animal experiments; the direct application to human health and disease; and no need to extrapolate from animal ‘models’ to humans would result in higher quality science.
MEG is a completely harmless, non-invasive brain imaging technique. MEG has potential to replace animal experimentation because it yields direct neurophysiological measurements in human subjects, with 1,000 times the temporal resolution of fMRI, and a spatial scale (a large number of measurements from the whole brain) not possible with single unit recordings.
The Aston team also aims to create a Humane Research and Training Centre to provide essential training for neuroscientists, and provide pilot data for scientists who would otherwise only be able to engage with animal experiments.
Bianchi L, Sami S, Hillebrand A, Fawcett IP, Quitadamo LR, et al. (2010) Which physiological components are more suitable for visual ERP based brain–computer interface? A preliminary MEG/EEG study. Brain topography 23: 180–185.
Hall EL, Woolrich MW, Thomaz CE, Morris PG, Brookes MJ (2012) Using variance information in magnetoencephalography measures of functional connectivity. NeuroImage. Available: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S105381191201107X.
Hall SD, Barnes GR, Furlong PL, Seri S, Hillebrand A (2010) Neuronal network pharmacodynamics of GABAergic modulation in the human cortex determined using pharmaco-magnetoencephalography. Human brain mapping 31: 581–594.
Hall SD, Stanford IM, Yamawaki N, McAllister CJ, Rönnqvist KC, et al. (2011) The role of GABAergic modulation in motor function related neuronal network activity. Neuroimage 56: 1506–1510.
Hall SD, Yamawaki N, Fisher AE, Clauss RP, Woodhall GL, et al. (2010) GABA (A) alpha-1 subunit mediated desynchronization of elevated low frequency oscillations alleviates specific dysfunction in stroke–a case report. Clinical neurophysiology 121: 549–555.
Kinsey K, Anderson SJ, Hadjipapas A, Holliday IE (2011) The role of oscillatory brain activity in object processing and figure–ground segmentation in human vision. International Journal of Psychophysiology 79: 392–400.
Perry G, Adjamian P, Thai NJ, Holliday IE, Hillebrand A, et al. (2011) Retinotopic mapping of the primary visual cortex–a challenge for MEG imaging of the human cortex. European journal of neuroscience 34: 652–661.
Swettenham JB, Anderson SJ, Thai NJ (2010) MEG responses to the perception of global structure within glass patterns. PloS one 5: e13865.
Witton C, Hillebrand A, Furlong PL, Henning GB (2012) A novel binaural pitch elicited by phase-modulated noise: MEG and psychophysical observations. Cerebral cortex 22: 1271–1281.
Witton C, Patel T, Furlong PL, Henning GB, Worthen SF, et al. (2012) Sensory thresholds obtained from MEG data: Cortical psychometric functions. Neuroimage. Available: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811912008063.
Worthen SF, Hobson AR, Hall SD, Aziz Q, Furlong PL (2011) Primary and secondary somatosensory cortex responses to anticipation and pain: a magnetoencephalography study. European journal of neuroscience 33: 946–959.