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MEG Young Epilepsy

Through innovation and cutting-edge technology, we are revolutionising the diagnostic experience for children with epilepsy.

With our partners, our Research team at Young Epilepsy have created a wearable brain scanning system designed specifically for children.

This will be the first system of its kind in the world and has the potential to transform the diagnostic experience for children and their families.

Children and young people with epilepsy are at the heart of everything we do and the MEG project is no different. From the design of the room and the helmet, through to the selection of the activities to help children stay entertained, calm, and relaxed during the scan, everything has been informed by children and young people with epilepsy.

Feeling inspired? Young Epilepsy's research partnership delivers more accurate diagnosis and better treatment. Please donate today to help fund research that transforms the lives of children and young people with epilepsy.

Researchers & clinicians

Sam's story What is MEG? The brains behind OPM MEG Would you like to hear more about our research?

Sam's story

15-year-old Sam is a typical teenager in many ways, he loves sports, watching TV and spending time hiding in his bedroom. He was first diagnosed with epilepsy when he turned four years old.

His mum Tracy explained: "I was working as a manager at a nursery, which Sam attended, and suddenly at the age of three he went from being a very able child, who was starting to read, to someone who regressed very quickly."

"As a childcare professional, I could tell that his behaviour was unusual, but it still took us a long time to get anyone to listen properly to our concerns."

"Eventually, the epilepsy diagnosis was confirmed by an EEG on Sam's fourth birthday, and I have to say our first EEG was the most horrific experience. At that point Sam was very unsettled in his behaviour, so to get him to sit with wires on his head without moving, we both had to keep pinning him down on my lap."

"With the new MEG it is going to be more of a family friendly environment, where you can bring your favourite toys and your siblings along. For example, Sam's older brother really struggled with understanding at the beginning – it was a scary process for him also. To make it more normal will be a huge help for families like ours."

You can help people like Sam have more accurate diagnosis and better treatment by supporting Young Epilepsy's research partnership. Please donate today to help fund research that transforms the lives of children and young people with epilepsy.

Hear from Sam's Mum and Dad, how OPM-MEG will revolutionise the diagnostic experience for children with epilepsy and their families.

Our new MEG system is set within a family-friendly environment which includes a family room and new sensory garden for children and families to use when visiting the diagnostic suite. The garden is a really important element of the diagnostic suite as we know that therapeutic sensory gardens are important to reduce anxiety and help individuals with their mental health and wellbeing. We are delighted to have the help of a Chelsea Flower Show gold medallist garden designer to create this wonderful outdoor space.

Make a donation

You can help people like Sam have more accurate diagnosis and better treatment by supporting Young Epilepsy's research partnership.

Please donate today to help fund research that transforms the lives of children and young people with epilepsy.

Donate today

What is MEG?

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a neuroimaging tool that records brain function by measuring minute changes in magnetic fields produced as brain cells communicate. It is a vital part of neurological diagnostics and surgical evaluation. MEG has existed as a brain scanning technology for many years, but the old design has critical limitations.

We have developed a wearable, movable MEG system, known as OPM-MEG.

The new technology uses a different type of sensor, optically pumped magnetometers (OPM), which don’t need cryogenic cooling to work. In the new system the child wears a helmet with sensors attached, meaning that the sensors are closer to the scalp, and crucially, the new system allows children to move within an area of zero magnetic field created by the new lightweight shielded Mu-room.

Our new OPM-MEG will offer earlier and more accurate diagnosis and better treatment options, resulting in better outcomes for children. OPM-MEG is 10 times more sensitive than current MEG systems. This is largely due to the sensors’ placement in a wearable helmet rather than a in a fixed adult-sized hood.

The non-clinical environment of the new diagnostic suite at Young Epilepsy will provide a far less scary, less intrusive, experience for young people and their families. Eliminating the need for sedation during the scan will transform the experience for a child and their family, reducing risk and anxiety and improving the quality of the data.

We have worked in close collaboration with University of Nottingham, University College London's Institute of Neurology, the UCL Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging and Magnetic Shields Ltd.

We will continue to work together to test OPM-MEG's technical and clinical feasibility

Young Epilepsy's research partnership delivers more accurate diagnosis and better outcomes for children and young people with epilepsy. Please donate today and help fund research that transforms lives.

Researchers & clinicians

Why is early diagnosis so important?

Tools like EEG, and soon OPM-MEG, are often the first step in diagnosing someone’s epilepsy. Around half of people diagnosed with epilepsy never learn the cause of it. This is concerning from both the personal and clinician perspective. The more we know about what causes someone’s epilepsy and how else the underlying cause is affecting an individual, the better clinicians can manage and treat it, and the better the patient may understand it themselves.

Would you like to hear more about our research? Please sign-up to receive updates about research, news and information and how your support makes a difference

Why is early intervention so important? 

Epilepsy has an enormous impact on a person’s life and is often present with additional developmental needs. The longer a child has epilepsy, the longer it can threaten, or cause, neurological damage and so early intervention, surgery and tools which assist this, are critical to improving outcomes and quality of life in childhood epilepsy.

Please donate today to help fund research that transforms the lives of children and young people with epilepsy.

The brains behind OPM MEG

Rosemarie Pardington
Director of Integrated Care at Young Epilepsy

"Having a facility like the new MEG is going to make an absolutely massive difference to the children and their families."


Tim Tierney
Senior Research Fellow

"We hope that this technology will allow for a much more child friendly brain scan."


David Woolger
Managing Director Magnetic Shields Ltd and Cerca Magnetics Ltd

"The OPM MEG is a system that has been developed, proven and tested now in the UK, and it has a global application."


Richard Wilkinson
Director Lytle Associates Architects

"This is a bespoke one-of-a-kind piece of kit which could dramatically change children's and people's lives."

Would you like to hear more about our research?

Young Epilepsy coordinates and funds research into the causes, treatments and impact of all aspects of childhood epilepsy. Our research partnership focuses on three key areas:

  • Understanding Childhood Epilepsies
  • Outstanding Treatment
  • Outstanding Support

Would you like to hear more about our research? Please sign-up to receive updates about research, news and information and how your support makes a difference.

 
Cyber EssentialsFundraising RegulatorYoung Epilepsy is the operating name of The National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy Charitable Trust.
Registered Charity number 311877 (England and Wales)

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