Facilities

The LNCyC provides our researchers and collaborators with the following resources:

Magnetoencephalography

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a silent, noninvasive brain mapping technique used to measure the magnetic fields (about 100-1000 femtotesla) produced by neuronal electrical activity with a high temporal resolution (about milliseconds) and good spatial resolution (about 5 millimeters). MEG provides valuable information about the spatio-temporal evolution of both spontaneous and evoked brain dynamics.

Synchronized cortical activity generates a the very weak magnetic field outside the scalp, that can be measured with MEG. These emerging magnetic fields are measured by means of superconducting quantum interference devices or SQUIDs. SQUIDs, consist of superconductive coils with a very small interruption (Josephson junction), which can be crossed by electrons because of quantum effects. Liquid helium maintains the system at -269ºC, ensuring that the SQUIDs are working in a superconducting state. The MEG system is contained in a magnetically shielded room, so that it remains isolated from external noise (e.g. the Earth’s magnetic field is about 100 million times higher than brain’s one).

Our MEG system is a 306-channel Elekta Neuromag® (Elekta Oy, Helsinki, Finland) contained in a magnetically shielded room provided by Vacuumschmelze, (Hanau, Germany). The system has 102 magnetometers and 204 planar gradiometers in a helmet-shaped array covering the entire scalp. A 3D-digitizer (FASTRACK; Polhemus, Colchester, Vermont, US) and four HPI coils enable the continuous monitoring of the head position inside the MEG system. Additionally, our MEG device has an integrated EEG-system consisting on 60 single-ended channels and 4 differential channels, so that EEG, EOG, EMG, and ECG signals can be recorded. This EEG-System includes non-magnetic, MEG-compatible EEG caps. Auditory, visual and somatosensory stimulation is also possible. The participant’s behavior inside the MEG can be video-recorded, as well as their online responses by using two independent optical-fiber-based digit-response pads

Electroencephalography

Brain cells communicate with each other by producing tiny electrical signals, called impulses. The Electroencephalography is a technique for measuring these electrical currents within the brain. Flat metal disks called electrodes are placed all over the scalp. The disks are held in place with a sticky paste or by using a special cap. Wires attach these electrodes to an electronic monitoring device, which records the electrical impulses. The results are displayed on a computer screen.

Electrical potentials on the scalp exhibit spatial and temporal patterns that depend on the nature and location of the sources and the way that currents and fields spread through tissue. Different patterns of these electrical impulses can denote various forms of epilepsy and also they can help diagnose several brain diseases such Alzheimer’s disease, head injuries, tumors, infections, etc. EEG is also used to evaluate problems with sleep (sleep disorders), investigate periods of unconsciousness and monitor the brain during brain surgery. Besides, EEG can assess the level of brain activity in the case of coma or vegetative state.

Particularly, our EEG system is a 64-channel Synamps (NeuroScan, El Paso, Texas, US) contained in a Faraday’s cage that isolates brain signals from external noise sources

Behavioural testing room

The LNCyC has a behavioural testing room dedicated for basic research on cognitive processes and neuropsychological assessment. It is equipped with PCs with E-prime, Presentation, and other stimulus presentation packages

External facilities

External facilities