Boys Town Research Hospital uses state-of-the-art brain imaging technology

Omaha, Nebraska (WOWT) – A state-of-the-art medical facility unique to Omaha and the United States has entered Boys Town National Research Hospital​​. It is one of only two such systems in the world.

The bright blue helmet is equipped with tiny sensors to study how the brain develops from birth.

The scientists say it’s a high-resolution neuroimaging instrument known as “optical pump magnetometry,” or OPM.

“This technique is specialized because we can obtain images of the same resolution on a small baby as we can get by attaching the OPM to the head of an older child,” said Dr. Tony Wilson of the Human Neuroscience Institute.

Dr. Wilson said that no other hospital in the United States has this kind of equipment. OPM is made possible by advances in quantum physics.

“The actual sensors are so small, they’re really just placed anywhere on the body,” said Dr. Wilson said. “So if you want, you can put them on the belly of the expectant mother, and then you can measure the brain activity of the fetus.”

OPM could help doctors track mental illness soon after birth — and better understand what causes epilepsy and seizures.

It’s non-invasive — kids can move, play and even sing in it.

The Boys Town team submitted a grant to the National Institutes of Health and received $1.5 million to make the device accessible to children and families in Omaha.

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