Washington: The functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), most commonly used in brain mapping method, may not be ideal for children and patients with implanted electrical devices such as pacemakers, cochlear implants and deep brain stimulators.
The magnetic fields used in the method may disrupt either the function or safety of these devices.
Researchers have now developed a "smart cap", a new brain scanning system that shines tiny lights onto the head and works just as well as magnetic brain scanner.
The instrument uses a technology called diffuse optical tomography (DOT) and works by detecting light transmitted through the head and capturing the dynamic changes in the colours of the brain tissue.
The new DOT instrument covers two-thirds of the head and for the first time can image brain processes taking place in multiple regions and brain networks.
"When the neuronal activity of a region in the brain increases, highly oxygenated blood flows to the parts of the brain doing more work and we can detect that," Joseph Culver from Washington University was quoted as saying.
The researchers validated the performance of DOT by comparing its results to fMRI scans, Daily Mail reported.
The study appeared in the journal Nature Photonics.