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A world-first for ERUK funded researcher

Epilepsy Research UK funded researcher’s military detection method has been used to record brain activity in epilepsy for the first time.

The National Institute for Health Research has outlined the significance of research funded by ERUK, led by Dr Vivekananda. His transformative work, the world-first recording of OP-MEG (Optically Pumped Magnetoencephalography) demonstrates the potential of research to revolutionise diagnosis for people with epilepsy.


University College London (UCL) and University College London Hospital (UCLH) researchers applied the OP-MEG system for the first time in the case of a 47-year-old woman with epilepsy. Her case has been reported in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

The OP-MEG system, which is more commonly used in the military to detect submarines, has been adapted by Dr Vivekananda and his team of UCL and Nottingham University scientists, to record magnetic fluctuations in the brain.

"Every day in the UK, 87 people are diagnosed with epilepsy. The pathway to diagnosis can often be lengthy, involving numerous tests and investigations. Dr Vivekananda’s world-first recording of OP-MEG demonstrates the potential of research to revolutionise diagnosis for people with epilepsy."

As OP-MEG sensors work at room temperature and can be attached directly to the scalp, it allows for more detailed brain activity to be collected. The portability of OP-MEG offers opportunities to revolutionise how neurophysiology is performed in epilepsy, translating it into a widely used clinical tool.

"The OP-MEG system … allows patients to lie down or recline comfortably in a chair and move their head naturally while the technique is performed. It means the technique has the potential to become a readily available clinical tool used to diagnose patients."

You can read more about Dr Vivekananda’s work in the article published in the National Institute for Health Research here.

You can also find out about his work on portable MEG in epilepsy on our website here.

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