Healthcare Industry News:  Magnetoencephalography 

Devices Neurology

 News Release - March 15, 2007

Alexian Brothers Hospital Network To Bring Advanced Brain Mapping Technology To Chicagoland

New device offers hope for guiding the treatment of epilepsy and other brain disorders

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., March 15 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- The Alexian Brothers Hospital Network has announced that it will bring new leading-edge brain mapping technology to the Chicago area with the acquisition of a whole-head Magnetoencephalography [MEG] system from Elekta. The Elekta Neuromag® system is a highly sophisticated device for measuring the magnetic signals generated by the electrical activity of brain cells. Using MEG, it is possible to track patterns of brain activity in both space and time. Considered one of the most exciting developments in Neuroscience today, real-time brain mapping via MEG opens new frontiers for evaluating brain activity in health and disease. By integrating MEG functional data with brain structural data from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Alexian clinicians will be able to generate the most sophisticated 3-D images of brain activity presently available.

The first such device in Illinois, the Elekta Neuromag® system holds promise for guiding treatment strategies for patients with functional neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders -- including epilepsy, dementia, depression, and autism. "This is an extremely powerful tool that will vastly improve our ability to track how disease disrupts brain function and how appropriate therapy can set things right," explained Dr. Jeffrey Lewine, Director of the new Illinois MEG Center.

Utilizing an array of super-cooled sensors within a detector helmet that sits above the patient's head, the Elekta Neuromag® system tracks moment-by- moment changes in brain activity. According to Dr. Lewine, "The device is basically a big magnetic stethoscope, passively recording changes in the electromagnetic signals naturally generated by the brain. There is no need for radiation or dyes of any kind. The technology is quiet, safe, patient friendly and appropriate for use with both small children and adults. What is truly remarkable is that through tracking the brain's magnetic signals, we can figure out exactly how interactions between brain regions are impacted by disease."

The new system, one of only 25 MEG systems in the United States and the first to be at a community-based hospital, will be used for both direct patient care and the research development of new clinical applications. The clinical program at the Center will support neurologists and neurosurgeons throughout the Midwest who will use MEG to guide surgical interventions for patients with brain tumors, vascular malformations and epilepsy. "Using MEG, we can identify the location of dysfunctional brain regions, and we can provide surgeons with a brain map that allows them to avoid causing damage to healthy brain areas that support critical functions like motor control, touch, hearing, seeing, language, and memory," said Lewine.

Alexian scientists and clinicians will also engage in new research on traumatic brain injury, dementia, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, stroke, learning disabilities, ADHD, and autism spectrum

disorders, with an emphasis on using brain imaging profiles to guide patients toward effective, individually tailored therapies.

"As the first community-based hospital system to embrace this emerging technology, Alexian Brothers Hospital Network is defining the paradigm for other hospital systems to establish aggressive Neuroscience initiatives," said Mark Frey, CEO for Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital, and Executive Vice-President of the Alexian Neurosciences Institute.

The MEG program reflects an international effort. Elekta, the parent company for the project is based in Sweden. Elekta and Alexian Brothers have previously worked together on the Illinois Gamma Knife Center, which provides noninvasive radiosurgical capabilities to patients throughout Illinois. The detector unit for MEG is manufactured in Finland and it must be operated within a specially designed magnetically shielded room shipped from Switzerland. The Illinois MEG Center will be housed on the campus of Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Installation of the shielded room will be completed next week, and the MEG unit will be fully operational in late April 2007. By having the MEG and Gamma Knife Systems under one roof, Alexian Brothers Medical Center will be one of a handful of hospitals world-wide able to provide a complete noninvasive solution to the evaluation and treatment of certain types of brain tumors and vascular malformations. With respect to the development of both clinical and research applications of MEG technologies, the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network is now poised to take on national and international leadership roles.

About Alexian Brothers Hospital Network

The Alexian Brothers Hospital Network (ABHN) is comprised of Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates, and the new Alexian Rehabilitation Hospital in Elk Grove Village. Together these four hospitals are known for advanced medicine and providing unsurpassed treatment and care to the more than one million residents of Chicago's northwest suburbs.


Source: Alexian Brothers Hospital Network

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