The goal of this research is to develop fetal magnetoencephalography (fMEG) into a new technology that will enable the study of human fetal brain activity. The research is important because currently there are no noninvasive methods that can directly record human brain activity in utero. Among possible technologies for recording fetal brain activity, MEG appears to have the greatest potential for success. The development of this technique is still at an early stage, but the feasibility of this approach is now established. In the next project period we propose to build on our recent results by investigating the use of auditory stimuli and protocols that are most likely to yield higher measurement success rates and provide specific information about fetal brain function. We also propose to continue development of signal processing methods that can increase the signal-to-noise ratio. The long-term goal of this program is to help establish fMEG as the first viable means of assessing the integrity and function of the developing brain of the human fetus. Such a technology would be extremely valuable in the identification of fetuses with brain dysfunction due to chronic intrauterine central nervous system insults, which may result in developmental difficulties, including cerebral palsy.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-SSS-X (11))
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Babcock, Debra J
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University of Wisconsin Madison
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Wakai, R T; Lutter, W J; Chen, M et al. (2007) On and Off magnetic auditory evoked responses in early infancy: a possible marker of brain immaturity. Clin Neurophysiol 118:1480-7
Chen, Mingli; Van Veen, Barry D; Wakai, Ronald T (2006) Linear minimum mean-square error filtering for evoked responses: application to fetal MEG. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 53:959-63
Rodriguez-Rivera, Alberto; Baryshnikov, Boris V; Van Veen, Barry D et al. (2006) MEG and EEG source localization in beamspace. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 53:430-41
Lutter, W J; Maier, M; Wakai, R T (2006) Development of MEG sleep patterns and magnetic auditory evoked responses during early infancy. Clin Neurophysiol 117:522-30
Wakai, Ronald T (2004) Assessment of fetal neurodevelopment via fetal magnetocardiography. Exp Neurol 190 Suppl 1:S65-71
Baryshnikov, Boris V; Van Veen, Barry D; Wakai, Ronald T (2004) Maximum-likelihood estimation of low-rank signals for multiepoch MEG/EEG analysis. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 51:1981-93
Wakai, Ronald T; Lutter, William J (2002) Matched-filter template generation via spatial filtering: application to fetal biomagnetic recordings. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 49:1214-7
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