Brain Scan Definition
Brain scans are an essential tool in brain research and medicine which helps understand and identify issues or disorders in various areas of the brain. Brain scan types can include computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, positron emission tomography (PET) scans, magnetoencephalography (MEG) scans and more. MRI scanning techniques differ from X-rays in providing data such as images of the brain and tissues.
Brain Scan FAQs
What is a Brain Scan?
Brain scans are imaging techniques which help scientists, researchers and physicians see tissues and areas of the brain and gather data on their health. Brain scan images from processes like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans differ from X-rays. They provide images of the brain and tissues which are not as dense as bone.
Structural vs. Functional Brain Scans?
Some types of brain scans may be categorized as structural brain scans or functional brain scans. Structural, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, deals with the structure of the brain. These scans can show contrast between different tissues, such as cerebrospinal fluid, grey matter, white matter, and more. They are used by researchers to understand brain anatomy. Functional brain scans are used to indirectly measure brain functions, such as neural activity.
How to Get a Brain Scan?
Medical facilities which provide magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and computerized tomography (CT) scans can help patients whose symptoms cannot be identified or addressed through other means. Your neurologist will first ask questions about your symptoms and how long they have persisted before ordering a brain scan. The doctor can also advise on the pros and cons of different types of brain scans, such as a CT scan vs an MRI brain scan. This will help prevent incurring the brain scan cost unnecessarily, both for the patient and the hospital.
What is an EEG Brain Scan?
An electroencephalogram is a scan that detects your brain’s electrical activity. The EEG brain scan is performed by attaching EEG electrodes to your scalp. The sensors record the brain wave patterns and the electroencephalogram sends the data to a computer.
Your doctor or researchers can pair the data from the EEG scan of your brain with other brain scan data to provide a more complete picture. Examples include researchers who add brain scans from magnetoencephalography (MEG) and EEG to get one brain map.
How is a Brain Scan Performed?
Different types of brain scans acquire the brain activity data through various methodologies.
Some brain scans, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scans collect data with no contact. Signals are fed into the X-rays or magnetic field which then communicate with the computer to assemble the data on the brain scan.
Electroencephalograms (EEG) scans on the brain require scalp contact to collect data. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) scans collect data via sensors located several millimeters from the scalp. The subject must be held stationary within the scanner, and the fixed array of magnetic sensors is positioned around the head.
Some brain scans require the injection of contrast dye to collect data, or a radioactive agent in the case of a PET scan. Examples include dynamic CT or MRI scans of the brain. These techniques are used to measure cerebral blood volume (CBV) and cerebral blood flow (CBF).
What Does an EEG Brain Scan Show?
An EEG brain scan is a test that detects your brain’s electrical activity. EEG electrodes are attached to your scalp. The sensors record the electrical activity from all the parts of the brain, and the electroencephalogram sends the data to a computer.
What Does a Brain Scan Show?
A brain scan shows brain activity and tissues which cannot be detected otherwise. Brain scan images from processes like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans differ from X-rays. They provide images of the brain and tissues which are not as dense as bone. This is especially important for tumor detection and diagnosis.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) helps surgery teams see brain activity by seeing changes associated with blood flow that is related to energy use by brain cells. This allows surgeons to assess how risky brain surgery or similar invasive treatment is for a patient and to learn how a normal, diseased or injured brain is functioning.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scans help medical teams detect the grade of a tumor. PET scans of the brain can assist with detecting the condition of tumor cells at various stages, such as after radiation, or when tumor cells are recurring.
Dynamic MRI or dynamic CT scans of the brain can estimate blood flow and volume in the brain. Contrast dye is used to assist with the MRI and CT scanning processes.
Types of Brain Scans?
Brain scans can be categorized into one of the following: scanning with no contact of the head required, scanning with contact required, and scanning with contrast dye injected.
Scans with no contact on the head include computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and magnetoencephalography (MEG), among others. In CT and MRI scans, signals are sent multiple times to gather data on the brain. These wave scans are sent to the computer for processing. Faster rates of signals are used in functional MRI scans (fMRI). The higher rate of signalling provides data which is not available otherwise.
Scans which require contact with the head include electroencephalograms (EEG). Electrodes are placed along the patient or research subject’s head to gather data on brain wave activity. The EEG brain scan results in a readout of electrical activity on the brain.
Scans with contrast dye injected include examples like dynamic CT. The contrast reveals information that the normal brain scan might not otherwise detect. These dynamic CT scans can be used to measure cerebral blood volume (CBV) and cerebral blood flow (CBF).
Structural brain scans deal with the structure of the brain. These scans can show contrast between different tissues, such as cerebrospinal fluid, grey matter, white matter, and more. They are used by researchers to understand brain anatomy. Functional brain scans, such as magnetoencephalography (MEG), electroencephalogram (EEG) brain scans, and other types, are used to indirectly measure brain functions, such as neural activity.
EEG Brain Scanning Pros and Cons?
EEG brain scans can provide information that other brain scans do not detect. EEG brain scans detect electrical activity and brain waves. Neurons communicate via electrical signals, so EEG may be used to see brain activity as it unfolds in real time. One of the biggest advantages to EEG brain scans is the detailed level, down to milliseconds, at which they can detect brain activity. The downside to this specialized application of EEG brain scans is that this level of detail does not reveal the precise location where the activity originates. Another challenge with EEG brain scans is that certain types of EEG electrodes may pick up interference from other electrical signals nearby electric signal associated with activity of facial muscles. This interferes with the precision of the scan. EEG brain scans do not result in a visual output. Other types of brain scans are required to form a full picture of the brain map, in conjunction with the EEG data.
Does Emotiv offer EEG Brain Scans?
EMOTIV offers a number of solutions for the imagery which assists with brain scans. Brain scans through EEG or electroencephalography, are cost-effective with EMOTIV’s Brainwear. A research team can access a broad array of data-gathering and imaging equipment on a budget-friendly scale. EMOTIV’s solutions have been proven in studies and clinical literature for neuroscience, workplace wellness and safety, cognitive performance, neuroimaging and brain-controlled technology applications.
The award-winning EMOTIV EPOC+ headset provides professional-grade brain data for brain scans in academic and commercial use. The headset is not certified for use in clinical diagnosis or therapy, however. The EMOTIV Insight headset boasts minimal set-up time and electronics optimized to produce clean signals from anywhere, making it ideal for performance and wellness tracking. The EMOTIV EPOC FLEX cap offers high density coverage and moveable electroencephalogram sensors optimal for research professionals.