Elekta Technology Virtually Eliminates MEG Helium Refills

Company debuts work-in-progress helium recycler for Elekta Neuromag® TRIUX™ MEG system at 2014 American Epilepsy Society meeting. A major factor limiting the scope of magnetoencephalography (MEG) programs worldwide has been the cost and availability of the liquid helium needed to operate these advanced brain mapping systems. With its zero helium boil-off technology* for Elekta Neuromag TRIUX, Elekta nearly eliminates the need for liquid helium refills. Elekta introduced the helium recycling technology at the American Epilepsy Society Meeting, December 5-9 (Seattle, Washington). “This is a major leap forward in functional brain mapping, as it dramatically decreases operating costs and does away with the need for weekly liquid helium refills,” says Miikka Putaala, Director Business Line MEG, Elekta Neuroscience. “With Elekta’s zero helium boil-off technology, over 1,300 gallons [5,000 liters] of liquid helium can potentially be saved each year on a single system. That means users of our Elekta Neuromag TRIUX system will be largely unaffected by liquid helium price increases or shortages.” The cost and availability of helium has soared in recent years as a result of supply shortages and the privatization of strategic helium reserves in the United States, Putaala says. The spot market price of helium has more than doubled in many countries, including the United States, to well over USD 38 per gallon [3.78 liters] and, at times, as much as USD 113 per gallon. “The availability of liquid helium has been unstable in the last few years as extraction facilities have been out of service due to maintenance or other reasons,” he adds. “The ability to have integrated helium recycling technology in Elekta Neuromag TRIUX comes at a critical time, and will enable our clinical and research users to continue their MEG programs cost-effectively and without interruptions.”

What is MEG?
MEG is based on the detection of very weak magnetic fields that originate from electrical activity within the brain. MEG functional mapping is used to evaluate epilepsy and to perform pre-surgical mapping of visual, auditory, somatosensory, motor cortex and language functional areas. MEG also has been employed to study the neural basis of developmental disorders, psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, memory, attention, emotion, language and social cognition.

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