Category Archives: Product Updates

All new CGX Quick headsets with live impedance measurement by means of LEDs now available

Since introducing the CGX Quick systems into our portfolio in 2020, several updates have been made to improve your overall experience with this dry electrode headset. Whether you are conducting research in neuromarketing, neuroergonomics, mobile applications or other fields where an easy to apply headset is needed, the updates recently made to the Quick Systems are sure to enhance the experience of both the researcher and the participant.

What’s new? 

The new Quick-32r and Quick-20r v2 have been updated to include on-board impedance checking by means of LEDs, a Brain Products’ patented technology which is implemented in our actiCAP slim electrodes. This handy feature eases your set-up as you can directly see the range of the electrode’s impedance at each site in real-time without having to check the recording software. BrainVision Recorder for CGX not only allows online impedance checking and has an LSL outlet, but is also compatible with RecView to perform online analysis.

CGX Quick-20r v2 and Quick-32r

CGX Quick-20r v2 (left) and Quick-32r (right)

Powered by AA batteries, you can get up to 8 hours of recording time with your new CGX Quick system. These attributes help reduce your set-up time and provide you with all the tools necessary to conduct your research studies.

Moreover, with the participants’ experience in mind, sensors were redesigned for faster set-up through the hair and increased comfort, for up to 60-minute recording sessions. This new and improved design has clear benefits for both the research technician, as well as the participant. As we’ve shown in previous webinars, the CGX headset can be self-donned, meaning that it is easy enough for the participant to apply all on their own without the assistance of a research technician.

For a closer look at getting started with the new Quick Systems, check out this video.

Are you thinking of upgrading?

Whether you recently purchased a Quick system from CGX or your local distributor, or were one of the early adopters of these headsets, we have attractive loyalty and trade-in offers to facilitate your upgrade to the newest product bundle. If your system (Quick-30 or Quick-20r) is less than 3 years old and you wish to upgrade, your newly purchased Quick-32r or Quick-20r v2 will be discounted. Similarly, you can trade in any Quick-30 or Quick-20r, regardless of condition, if you are ordering a new Quick-32r or Quick-20r v2. Trade-in pricing is determined based on the age of the Quick system.

If you’d like to know more about this product and these exceptional upgrade options, please contact us (via emailcontact form or chat) or your local distributor for more information or a product demo. Be sure to register for our upcoming webinar on introducing the new Quick systems and stay tuned for other upcoming online events.

R-Nets with infants: a walkthrough

What happens in the brain of infants is especially interesting to developmental and neurocognitive psychologists. Up to now using EEG on infants, however, was a scientifically risky process with lots of dropout due to the long and – for the infant – uncomfortable preparation of the measurement. With the new R-Net system, the preparation time can be reduced to about five minutes – giving the scientists more time to collect good data.

In this guide, we provide a detailed walkthrough showing how to use the R-Net in studies with infants.

Overview

1. Before the participant arrives
a. Provide sufficient information to the caregivers 
b. Preparation of materials 

2. When the participant arrives
a. Inform the caregivers and make sure the infant is fine 
b. Fit the R-Net 
c. Adjust the cables 
d. Check impedances 

3. Starting the measurement
a. Instruct caregivers 
b. Record video of the experiment 

4. After the experiment
a. Show signal to caregiver 
b. Clean the equipment 


1. Before the participant arrives

a. Provide sufficient information to the caregivers

Often caregivers are not familiar with the EEG measurement and are afraid to participate in EEG experiments with their infants. When inviting the families, always make sure to provide an information sheet in which you explain the technique, state possible risks such as skin irritations, and list possible counter indications. You can also include pictures of an infant with the cap (make sure to have the consent of the family for this) so the caregivers know what to expect.

Some caregivers expect that bringing their infant to an EEG measurement will provide them with medical information about the infant. Thus, it is important to state that the measurement does not have a diagnostic purpose and that you cannot deliver any medical information.

In contrast to EEG measurements with adults, infants do not need to come with their hair washed. As they have little and thin hair, the measurement works well without it. With the R-Nets, the infants also do not need their hair to be washed after the experiment. It only gets a little wet, but you can easily rub it dry with a towel or use a hair dryer.

If you do not have the possibility to measure the head circumference of the infant yourself before the EEG measurement, you can use the pre-testing information to ask for it. Infants regularly visit the doctor and have their head circumference measured there – if the last measurement is not more than four weeks ago, you can use that number. Heads do not grow as fast as the rest of the body.

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b. Preparation of materials

Make sure to have the materials you need during the testing prepared. This should include:

  • an interesting toy for the infant in case you need distraction
  • a selection of infant-friendly videos you can play during the preparation
  • hook and loop fasteners or other material to fix the cap’s cables
  • a measurement band

You can already prepare the solution needed to prepare the R-Net. For this, fill the measurement cup labelled “electrolyte/water” with 1.5 liters of distilled water and add 1 teaspoon of potassium chloride (KCl) per liter (i.e. 1.5 spoons). Also, add a couple of drops of baby shampoo. Mix the solution.

 Tip: This video shows how to prepare the solution.

If you know the head circumference of the infant, you can put the R-Net of the correct size into the mix already. You know the size of the net from a small label close to the white plastic bar (this is called the “clamping block”). Take the size that is closest to the head circumference of the infant. If the circumference is in between two cap sizes, take the larger one so that the infant’s ears fit nicely into the cap. When you put the net in the solution, make sure to cover the splitter boxes with a towel, so they do not get wet. You can also store them on a shelf above the measurement cup to make sure no water drips on them. Make sure that the whole R-Net is within the solution. The net needs to soak for a minimum of 15 minutes but not more than 30 minutes. For example, you can put it into the solution 15 minutes before the scheduled appointment and set a timer for 30 minutes so that you know when to take it out of the solution if the family is running late. If you have other experimental tasks planned before the EEG measurement (something we would not recommend), make sure to plan the soaking time accordingly.

You can already prepare the disinfection solution. For this and for cleaning the R-Net, Brain Products officially recommends using distilled water; however, we’ve been using filtered water instead and so far, everything works fine in our lab with this alternative solution. (Be aware that this may increase corrosion of the material). Fill 1.5 liters of distilled/filtered water in the measurement cup labelled “disinfection”. Add the appropriate amount of your disinfectant and stir the solution.

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2. When the participant arrives

a. Inform the caregivers and make sure the infant is fine

When the families arrive, make sure to bring them to the experimental room as soon as possible and inform them there. This way, the infant can already get used to the experimental conditions that might be very unfamiliar (i.e., many distracting cables and equipment being around, different lighting conditions, etc.).

Put a nice, comfortable chair for the caregiver to sit on in front of the screen. Letting the infant sit on the caregiver’s lap might increase movement artefacts in comparison to letting them sit in an infant’s chair. However, the infant might feel more comfortable on the caregiver’s lap and be less fussy. Decide how to arrange infant and caregiver depending on the specific experiment. If you let the infant sit on the caregiver’s lap, make sure to have some pillows available to make it more comfortable for the caregiver if necessary. This way you can at least reduce movements from the caregiver.

If you do not have the head circumference of the infant yet, make sure to measure it and prepare the R-Net. As you best have two experimenters ready for the whole experiment, one can continue informing the caregivers, while the other is preparing the cap.

We usually bring a cap in a different size to show the caregivers the cap and explain again how it works. In the meantime, you can give the infant an interesting toy.

Ask the caregiver if they think the infant is fine. Offer the possibility to feed the infant. Often caregivers think that the infant will make it through the experiment, and they will feed the infant afterwards. However, it is better to have the infant as happy as possible before the experiment.

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b. Fit the R-Net

After 15 minutes of soaking, take the net out of the electrolyte solution and make sure to dry excess water. You do not need to be afraid that the cap will not work if it seems dry from the outside, if the sponges are soaked with the solution. On the contrary, having the cap too wet will lead to bridges easily. Wring out the chinstraps of the cap. They usually are also soaked with the solution, but them being wet is uncomfortable for the infant. So, make sure to get them as dry as possible.

During the preparation, play some infant-friendly videos so the infant is distracted and does not realize the cap immediately. This way you will also have the infant look straight, which will make it easier to fit the cap correctly.

At best, you should have two people fitting the cap. One will kneel in front of the infant and make sure to fit the cap close to the eyebrows of the infant. The other one will hold the back of the cap and make sure to place it over the head of the infant. It is particularly important to fit the cap as fast as possible, so the process does not bother the infant. It is worth training the team of experimenters on a Styrofoam head a couple of times before they start testing real infants, to make sure everyone exactly knows what to do. Changes in the team always worsen the results for some time as insecurities easily transfer to the mood of the infant.

Close the chinstraps of the cap and make sure that the white plastic bar (i.e. the clamping block) is approximately at the jaw of the infant. You might need to cut the foremost tube on the plastic bar as this might tickle the infant near the mouth, raising its attention towards the cap.

 Tip: This video shows how to exchange tubes of the R-Net to optimize its fit.

After you fit the R-Net, make sure that all the electrodes are straight and in contact with the head, meaning that it should be symmetrical on both sides. Cz should be centered between Nasion-Inion and the preauricular points. Especially the electrodes on top of the head are prone to being twisted; probably you need to adjust them manually.

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c. Adjust the cables

In your lab environment, make sure to be able to place the cables and boxes of the cap behind the infant. Anything that is in sight of the infant will provoke the infant to grab it. For example, you can lay the cable over the shoulder of the caregiver and fix it there. Fixing the cable will also limit the movement possibilities of the infant, leading to less movement artifacts.

R-Nets with Infants Setup

Image showing the typical setup in our lab at LMU Munich

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d. Check impedances

Plug in the amplifier cables into the boxes and start the impedance measurement. The R-Nets are capable to tolerate high impedances up to 150 kOhm. However, the BrainAmp amplifiers only can measure up to 100 kOhm. Therefore, you can work on the impedances until they are below 100 kOhm.

To work on the impedances, you can massage the cap with your hands. This way the infant does not attend to the cap as much as if you apply additional solution. In addition, as they have little hair, this often is enough.

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3. Starting the measurement

a. Instruct caregivers

Before finally starting the measurement, instruct the caregiver about their expected behavior during the measurement. You probably cannot stop the infant from moving but ask the caregiver to remain as still as possible. If the infant does not need their hands during the task, ask the caregiver to gently hold onto the infant’s hands. This way you reduce the possibility for the infant to grab and pull the R-Net.

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b. Record video of the experiment

R-Net with Infants Video Recording

Screenshot from Video Recording

Make sure to record a video of the infant during the experiment. In the best case, the video is already time-locked to your EEG recording.

For example, you can use BrainVision Recorder with a video recording add-on to simultaneously record a video and the EEG signal. This way you can easily code whether the infant was attentive to the screen in the respective trials. You can also monitor the infant’s attention live and trigger attention getters or breaks during the experiment.

The regular use of attention getters during the experiment is extremely helpful. Usually, right after the attention getters, the infant is attentive and still for a couple of seconds, giving you a much better signal for this period.

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4. After the experiment

a. Show signal to caregiver

If possible, you can show the EEG signal to the caregiver after the experiment. They will not see much in it of course, but knowing how it looks like is mostly interesting to the caregivers. You can also offer screenshots of the video you recorded so that they have a picture of the infant with the cap. This will increase the compliance to your study, lab and further experiments.

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b. Clean the equipment

After taking the cap off the infant, wrap the splitter boxes in a towel and put the cap into the measurement cup labelled “disinfection” that you already prepared before the experiment. Make sure all of the cap is completely under water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, you can already clean the measurement cup labelled “electrolyte/water” and fill it with one liter of distilled water. After the disinfection, place the cap into this measurement cup and wait for one more minute. Move the cap around a little bit to make sure that all disinfectant solution is washed out of the cap. This way you can reduce the risk of skin irritations with the next use. Put the cap for another minute into fresh water for two more times. Afterwards, hang the cap to dry. Make sure that the boxes are stored higher than the cap so that no water can drip into the boxes.

Extend your BrainVision Analyzer 2 to its full potential with Solutions

Are you looking for extensions for BrainVision Analyzer 2? They are called Solutions! Scientists from various fields of research use them to tweak Analyzer to their needs. Analysis of non-EEG sensor data, sleep data, single trials and time-frequency domain exports are only some examples where users can benefit from our solutions.

In the following we present our most popular solutions and show how they add valuable functionality to Analyzer 2. We will start with general remarks and installation instructions and continue with some selected use-cases dedicated to specific analysis needs. At the end we present generally useful solutions that many of our users can profit from.


General remarks and installation instructions

BrainVision Analyzer 2BrainVision Analyzer 2 is appreciated for its easy-to-use yet powerful signal processing ability. Analysis pipelines created from the rich collection of Transformations cover most analysis needs while being extremely memory efficient. As scientific methodology is rapidly evolving, occasionally researchers will miss a function or method that is not implemented as a transformation. At Brain Products Scientific Support, we offer a variety of extensions to Analyzer 2 that fill in this gap. We call them Solutions.  They are usually created in first response to a frequently needed functionality and over time, we have grown a significant library of them. Solutions are free of charge for any Analyzer 2 user. Once they are installed you can use them almost as any other transformation.

Most popular solutions can be directly downloaded from our website. You have the option to download all of them at once or only individual ones. Either way you only need to run the installer and open Analyzer 2 to have them in your Solutions ribbon menu (see below).

Solutions Ribbon Menu in BrainVision Analyzer

If Analyzer 2 was already open, click Solutions > Help > Refresh Solutions to see them. Under the Solutions Help menu you will find the documentation for each of them. You can read more about how to use the Solutions Help Explorer in the Support Tip “Have you located the Solutions help documentation for Analyzer 2?”. If you are struggling with a certain task in Analyzer 2, our Scientific Support is always happy to help. We might send you a solution that is not available on our website, in this case you receive a solutions file (*.vaso), that you need to add to a subfolder of the Solutions directory on your Analyzer 2 installation path. The default path is: C:\Vision\Analyzer2\Solutions.

One word on macros – yes, solutions are basically compiled macros. You can add your own functions to Analyzer 2 by writing a Sax Basic macro and running it through the Macro ribbon menu. This topic will not be covered in this article. You can find more information on it on our website.

Solutions to help with specific analyses

Sensor Data

If you are working with signals from non-EEG sensors, we offer a range of solutions that you might find useful. For instance, you can analyze acceleration data, ECG profiles, EMG or GSR Peaks, Pulse transit times and width with the help of solutions. We have recently described how you can do that in our Support Tip “Offline analysis of sensor data in BrainVision Analyzer”.

Sleep

If you are a sleep researcher, you might be interested to know how to score and use sleep stages in Analyzer 2. Our Sleep Scoring solution allows you to manually score your data or inspect and edit imported sleep scores. For this purpose, we introduced the SleepStage marker dedicated to sleep research. Its description indicates the type of physiological state i.e., sleep stage N1, N2, N3, N4, REM, or Wake or the absence of a score (None). The Sleep Scoring solution recognizes these markers and allows you to edit them.

You can navigate the sleep data in steps of the desired scoring interval (typically 30 seconds). The frequency-spectra or topography can be displayed simultaneously to support the scorer. A full night hypnogram displaying all scores can be opened in a Microsoft Excel® sheet. Once scoring is finished, a Sleep Report can be generated. It summarizes important sleep parameters such as sleep latency, sleep efficiency, duration of stages and composition of sleep cycles. The approved scores remain as markers in the dataset and can be used for Segmentation in a sleep-informed analysis in Analyzer 2. This solution is available on request.

If you are interested in a demonstration of the solution, feel free to watch the recording of our webinar about  “Sleep Research and Sleep Scoring Solution”.

Analyzer Solutions: Figure 1 Sleep Scoring in Analyzer 2 with the display of the frequency data of the current scoring interval.

Figure 1. Sleep Scoring in Analyzer 2 with the display of the frequency data of the current scoring interval.

Single trial analysis

Analyzer 2 was originally designed for ERP analysis. Many ERP studies need to extract features of ERP components only after performing an Average across trials. Analyzer’s transformations and exports are designed for this approach and offer feature extraction from averaged data. Solutions add the possibility to also perform single trial analysis.

Analyzer Solutions: Figure 2 Stacked Plot view: the solution utilizes the time-frequency view in Analyzer to show multiple stacked trials. For this reason, the label of the ordinate is showing Hz instead of trial number.

Figure 2. Stacked Plot view: the solution utilizes the time-frequency view in Analyzer 2 to show multiple stacked trials. For this reason, the label of the ordinate is showing Hz instead of trial number.

The Peak Detection transformation for example, detects peaks on averaged data and the MinMax Marker solution on a single trial level. It allows you to place Peak markers at the maximum and/or minimum in a certain interval of each segment.

Likewise, where Area Information and Peak Information Export modules work on averaged datasets, you can export data from single trials with the solutions described in the section Solutions for exports below. There are solutions for time, frequency, or time-frequency domain exports.

Before the detection and export of peaks, it often makes sense to assess the ERP on a single trial level. For example, to estimate the variability of components across segments or to visually inspect a set of trials at once. You can do this with the Stacked Plot solution. It will display all segments stacked on top of each other (see Figure 2). The solution is using the time-frequency view in Analyzer 2 to display trial number on the ordinate and time on the abscissa. Amplitude is shown on a color scale that can be configured through the view settings.

Solutions for exports

Our most popular solutions are exports. These provide exports of time, frequency or time-frequency domain data from averaged or single-trial history nodes. For a detailed overview about exports please read our Support Tip “Exports for all occasions – A selective overview of Analyzer 2’s most useful export options”.

Peak Export: Despite its name the solution exports not only various peak measures such as amplitude, latency, peak-to-peak distance and the area under the curve but also average amplitudes within a time interval. This is the go-to solution if you need to export single trial, time domain data.

Analyzer Solutions: Figure 3 Interface of the Wavelet Data Export solution.

Figure 3. Interface of the Wavelet Data Export solution.

FFT Band Export: Like the Peak Export this solution can be used to export single-trial data from a selected frequency range. It allows you to export individual values as well as many aggregation options such as area under curve measures, average or the raw sum.

Wavelet Data Export: If you are using Wavelets to decompose your data into the time-frequency domain this solution is essential. You can specify a time and frequency range (see Figure 3) and then export the sum or average of this area to a text file. It is applicable for both real (e.g. power) or complex values. It is now also possible to export into a file with comma separated values (*.csv), making the transfer to other software even easier.

Create MAT File: Complementary to the Matlab transformation, that interfaces directly with the application, this solution allows you to create a MATLAB® compatible file (*.mat) with the data of the current history node. For each channel a separate variable is created. Note that time-frequency domain data cannot be exported with this solution.

Solutions for parameter extraction

Analyzer Solutions: Figure 4 Example output of the Write Markers solution.

Figure 4. Example output of the Write Markers solution.

The Write Markers solution has found many useful applications despite its simplicity. It collects basic information of selected markers and writes them to an external text file. Marker information includes DescriptionTypePositionDuration and Amplitude at the marker position. An example file is shown in Figure 4. It is generated from a continuous dataset and only includes selected output information. If the dataset is segmented, each row in the file corresponds to a segment. If it is continuous, you can specify a marker that will trigger a new line or row. In this example the “S_20” marker was used. In the exported file, the position of this marker is reset to zero. The position of all other markers in the same row is exported as the distance to the previous “S_20” marker. This feature allows you to inspect marker placement and to plan a marker-based segmentation before actually implementing it.

This export is also quite useful to extract:

Reaction time from markers

Often the distance between a Stimulus marker and a following Response Marker indicates reaction time. In the example export in Figure 4 the Stimulus marker triggers a new row and the position of the following Response marker indicates reaction time. Note that the Position can be exported in milliseconds or in data points.

Peak frequency

Analyzer Solutions: Figure 5 Example of the MinMax Marker solution applied to FFT (frequency domain) data to identify peak frequencies.

Figure 5. Example of the MinMax Marker solution applied to FFT (frequency domain) data to identify peak frequencies.

For most spectral analysis, frequencies of interest must be defined. For example, when the individual alpha frequency (iAF) is of interest, the peak of the alpha band of each subject needs to be detected and exported. The peak of the alpha band or another frequency band can be exported when the solution is used in combination with the MinMax Marker solution (see Figure 5). The MinMax Marker solution finds the largest (or smallest) value in a dedicated frequency band and inserts a Peak marker. The Write Markers solution exports the Magnitude and Frequency of the Peak marker. Both solutions can be applied to segmented or averaged frequency domain data.

List rejected segments

A common preprocessing step for EEG or ERP analysis is the detection and rejection of data containing an artifact. In Analyzer 2, a Bad Interval marker is used to indicate them. You can detect artifacts with Raw Data Inspection or Artifact Rejection automatically. Segments that contain Bad Interval markers can be rejected directly within Segmentation or can be automatically ignored by other transformations such as the Average. Often it is important for researchers to get an overview of segments that contain artifacts and are rejected from the result. Such a list can be exported with the Write Markers solution by exporting the Bad Interval markers.

Other popular solutions

Recode Markers: If you are interested to explore the relationship between the behavioral response and the EEG, this solution might be worth noticing. It allows you to select a group of segments based on the temporal distance between markers. Typically, the distance between a Stimulus and Response marker is used to reflect the reaction time. Available groupings are Median/Mean Split, Mean ± SD, Upper/Lower percentages, Middle fraction and more. It is also possible to define your own fractions in percentage or time range. The inserted marker (Type “Comment”) can be used within Segmentation to create a group ERP. Additionally, statistics such as the Mean, Median and Standard Deviation (SD) of the marker distances (e.g. reaction time) are reported in the Operation Infos of the Marker Recode history node.

Set Markers: Have you ever been in need to add a marker to your dataset? Maybe because you realized only after recording that it is needed or because it was simply forgotten. Of course, you can add or edit markers with Edit Markers transformation, but if you need to place a marker in a fixed distance to another existing marker this solution will help. It allows you to insert markers with a fixed or randomized temporal distance to all markers of a selected Type and Description. This solution is available on request.

Read Coordinates: If your dataset is lacking electrode coordinates but they are available in an external file, you can load it with this solution. You can specify the type of coordinates used (cartesian or spherical) and instruct the solution where to find the information in the file. This makes it possible to read from any electrode coordinate file if it is in a compatible text form. The solution also converts coordinates. In Analyzer 2 only spherical coordinates are used and if yours are specified in cartesian it will convert them. This solution is available on request.

Moving Average: Some analyses require to estimate the envelope of the signal, for example in EMG analysis. The Moving Average solution can be used to smooth the data, similar to a low-pass filter. Each value is replaced with the average of a time-window centered on the current data point. It offers some extra options such as rectification before or subtraction instead of replacing with the average.

Concluding remarks

To grasp the full processing power and skill of Analyzer 2 it is good to know Solutions and the range of functionality that they add to it. This article provides a glimpse of the full spectrum that is available with the solutions that are useful for most researchers. If you are stuck with your analysis and need to advance your pipeline beyond what you can do with transformations our tip is: browse through our solutions and find out whether they can help you. If you don’t find anything that fits your pipeline, contact us, we have more! Please get in touch with us via support@brainproducts.com and we will do our best to find a solution for you.

Introducing Tobii hardware and software: the perfect complement to your EEG and eye tracking research

To provide solutions for neurophysiological researchers, we are always staying current and up to date on integrating EEG with complementary methods to equip scientists with the most comprehensive solution for understanding the relationship between brain and behaviour. These combined methods have been a focus for Brain Products, whether it be via extra physiological measuresEEG-fMRI solutions or EEG-fNIRS combinations. As an extension of our multimodal offering, we’ve partnered with Tobii Pro to offer you high-grade screen-based and wearable eye tracking systems for your combined EEG & eye tracking research.

Are you interested in adding eye tracking to your EEG experiments? Whether you are conducting research in cognitive psychology, vision sciences or real-world applications, we offer a range of devices to fit your research needs.

Screen-based eye trackers

For stationary experiments with the actiCHamp Plus or BrainAmp, we are pleased to offer a range of screen-based eye trackers. Capturing gaze data up to 1200Hz, the Tobii Pro Spectrum offers advanced triggering options with superior data quality. It’s designed for lab-based research in the vision sciences, as well as studying eye movements from fixation-based studies to micro-saccades. Another high precision eye tracker, which can track the pupil in both light and dark conditions, the Tobii Pro Fusion, is designed to collect data in a variety of environments (e.g. hospitals, libraries, schools etc). A much smaller and lightweight screen-based eye tracker, which is designed for fixation-based studies, the Tobii Pro Nano, is fully portable and provides the ideal setup for educational and teaching purposes.

Tobii Pro screen-based eye trackers

From left to right: Tobii Pro Spectrum, Tobii Pro Fusion and Tobii Pro Nano

Wearables

Perfectly paired with our mobile LiveAmp, the wearable Tobii Pro Glasses 3 allow you to conduct behavioural EEG and eye tracking research in a variety of real-world settings. Delivering accurate gaze data from naturally moving participants, these glasses come equipped with 4 cameras, 16 illuminators, and a full HD resolution scene camera with 106° field of view. This sleek setup, together with our low-profile, actiCAP slim, electrodes provide an outstanding solution for all of your mobile EEG and eye tracking research applications, whether it be MoBI, neuromarketing or sports psychophysiology.

Tobii Pro wearable eye tracker

Tobii Pro Glasses 3

Software

Together with Tobii Pro eye trackers, Tobii Pro Lab software provides the complete solution for researching human behaviour. A user interface and dedicated software features efficiently guide and support you through all the phases of an eye tracking experiment from test design to recording and subsequent analysis. Once your EEG and eye tracking data are recorded, use the new Add Channels transform in BrainVision Analyzer 2.2.1 to synchronize and align your data streams before further analysis.

Tobii Pro Lab Software

Tobii Pro Lab Software

BESA Research 7.1 March 2021 released

BESA Research 7.1 March 2021 is a maintenance release. All customers with a valid license for BESA Research version 7.1 are eligible for a free update to this version.

This release features a lot of improvements and bug fixes. Please make sure to update to this version as soon as possible on www.besa.de/downloads/besa-research/besa-research-7-1/.

Data review and pre-processing:

  • Batch commands – Many new or enhanced batch commands are available, including improvements for automated pattern search, visualizing results, drawing maps, saving screen shots, scaling of data, etc.
  • Data export improvements
  • New source montages including the new 25 source standard (cf. Scherg et al., Front. Neurol., 20 August 2019, https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2019.00855), and atlas-based source montages (see picture above for an example of atlas region sources).

Source Analysis:

  • The time-domain beamformer can now be used to compare two conditions. The target and control conditions can be selected in the dialog of the ERP module that initiates the beamformer calculation.
  • A single dipole fit can now be started directly using the Start Fit button, without having to place a dipole source first.
  • The Bayesian source imaging method SESAME is now available for all head models. Before, it was restricted to spherical models.
  • Beamformer and DICS can now be used with MEG finite element and boundary element models.
  • It is now possible to add noise sources to a solution, in order to generate source montages. They can be selected from several pre-defined source configurations, and only sources with a certain distance from existing sources will be added in order to describe brain activity that is unrelated to the activity of interest. The functionality is available from the Solution menu.

The full list of improvements and bug fixes can be seen on https://www.besa.de/downloads/besa-research/besa-research-7-1/ in the section on New Features and Bug Fixes.

Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS): first NEUROLITH system installed in Switzerland

Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS®) for the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients is now also  available for patients in Switzerland. In early February 2021, the first NEUROLITH® system was successfully installed in the Praxis Alexander Russ in Zurich.

The NEUROLITH® practice A. Russ has already treated the first patients and reports that TPS® is in high demand: »We have numerous appointment requests from patients from the greater Zurich area, but also from the entire Lake Constance region and neighbouring southern Germany.«

In addition to Switzerland, TPS® is already available in Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Denmark, Portugal, England, Kuwait, Hong Kong, China and Canada. Another 15 installations are firmly planed until the middle of this year.

About TPS® treatment
In 2018, Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS®) with the NEUROLITH® system was the first, and hitherto only, procedure of its kind to obtain market authorization for the »treatment of the central nervous system of patients with Alzheimer’s disease«.

TPS® can stimulate deep cerebral regions, reaching as much as 8 cm into the brain. Owing to the short duration of the TPS® stimulation, tissue heating is avoided. The pulses applied to the treatment area thus develop their maximum clinical effectiveness. TPS® treatment is performed through the closed skull. In studies, TPS® treatment has been shown to significantly improve CERAD test performance and to reduce Beck’s depression index in patients with mild to moderate dementia.

Medoc Thermodes

Fit to a T(hermode)

Medoc Thermodes

We are often asked by our customers: “what thermode should I use?” Our answer is usually: “it depends”.

This is one of the most common questions we are asked when a customer approaches us, intending to buy a thermal quantitative sensory testing (QST) device.

The thermode is the probe that is attached to the participants’ skin, that on command of the computer program changes its temperature to hot or cold.

There are several types of thermodes; which one fits you best, depends mostly on your intended use.

Let’s start with the basics:

Comparing and contrasting

The classic thermode size is the 30mm by 30mm contact surface thermode, or for short: the 30*30. This thermode size has been around for decades and has therefor gathered quite the following.

Most of the normative data that has been gathered with Medoc devices around the world, and specifically by the German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain, the DFNS, has been gathered with this 30*30 thermode[1],[2],[3]. If you intend to compare your QST results to normative values that have been collected from healthy participants, you may want to consider using the 30*30.

Another quite common thermode size is the 16*16. This thermode has been in use with researchers and clinicians who wish to stimulate smaller areas, like the face[4] or the tongue[5], or perform QST on children[6].

Need for speed

One of the most asked-about thermodes is the CHEPS thermode. This thermode is special, because its technology allows working at very high speeds, for both heat and cold stimulation.

These high speeds are especially important for researchers who want to use a fast thermal stimulation in order to record Contact Heat Evoked Potentials (CHEPs)[7],[8],[9] or Cold Evoked Potentials (CEPs)[10]. Others may be interested in an application called: phasic heat temporal summation, in which very fast noxious heat pulses are applied in order to test for the wind-up phenomenon[11],[12].

Visualizing pain

The above thermode types (30*30, 16*16, CHEPS) are also available in fMRI versions. fMRI thermodes are different from normal thermodes for having additional 10 meters cable length, allowing the device to be placed outside the magnetic chamber and only the thermode to pass through the waveguide, reducing noise artifacts and insuring safety. These thermodes have undergone thorough testing and validation in different MRI environments.

Thermal stimulation is used in many trials that examined psychology (including reward processing, mindfulness, and more)[13],[14] and pain neurophysiology[15],[16].

Not your run of the mill thermode..

Then there are the specialized thermodes. Some quantitative sensory testing has been conducted on the most uncommon places in the body, to elucidate specific issues.

Intra-oral testing is conducted with a small diameter Intraoral thermode for varying purposes like; tooth sensitivity[17],[18], pain disorders involving the mouth or the face[19]and thermal taster status.

Medoc’s Intravaginal thermode, formerly known as the Genito-sensory-analyzer (GSA) is utilized in studies which seek to assess somatosensory function and pain of the genital area in women[20],[21],[22] and men[23].

 

References: [1]Hafner, J., Lee, G., Joester, J., Lynch, M., Barnes, E. H., Wrigley, P. J., & Ng, K. (2015). Thermal quantitative sensory testing: a study of 101 control subjects. Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, 22(3), 588-591. [2] Blankenburg, M., Boekens, H., Hechler, T., Maier, C., Krumova, E., Scherens, A., … & Zernikow, B. (2010). Reference values for quantitative sensory testing in children and adolescents: developmental and gender differences of somatosensory perception. PAIN®, 149(1), 76-88. [3]Yarnitsky, D., & Sprecher, E. (1994). Thermal testing: normative data and repeatability for various test algorithms. Journal of the neurological sciences, 125(1), 39-45. [4] Sampaio, F. A., Sampaio, C. R., Cunha, C. O., Costa, Y. M., Alencar, P. N., Bonjardim, L. R., … & Conti, P. C. (2019). The effect of orthodontic separator and short‐term fixed orthodontic appliance on inflammatory mediators and somatosensory function. Journal of oral rehabilitation, 46(3), 257-267. [5] Yang, Q., Dorado, R., Chaya, C., & Hort, J. (2018). The impact of PROP and thermal taster status on the emotional response to beer. Food Quality and Preference, 68, 420-430. [6] Hainsworth, K. R., Simpson, P. M., Ali, O., Varadarajan, J., Rusy, L., & Weisman, S. J. (2020). Quantitative Sensory Testing in Adolescents with Co-occurring Chronic Pain and Obesity: A Pilot Study. Children, 7(6), 55. [7] Rosner, J., Hostettler, P., Scheuren, P. S., Sirucek, L., Rinert, J., Curt, A., … & Hubli, M. (2018). Normative data of contact heat evoked potentials from the lower extremities. Scientific reports, 8(1), 1-9. [8] Jutzeler, C. R., Rosner, J., Rinert, J., Kramer, J. L., & Curt, A. (2016). Normative data for the segmental acquisition of contact heat evoked potentials in cervical dermatomes. Scientific reports, 6, 34660. [9] Granovsky, Y., Anand, P., Nakae, A., Nascimento, O., Smith, B., Sprecher, E., & Valls-Solé, J. (2016). Normative data for Aδ contact heat evoked potentials in adult population: a multicenter study. Pain, 157(5), 1156-1163. [10]Hüllemann, P., Nerdal, A., Binder, A., Helfert, S., Reimer, M., & Baron, R. (2016). Cold‐evoked potentials–Ready for clinical use?. European Journal of Pain, 20(10), 1730-1740. [11]Staud, R., Weyl, E. E., Riley III, J. L., & Fillingim, R. B. (2014). Slow temporal summation of pain for assessment of central pain sensitivity and clinical pain of fibromyalgia patients. PloS one, 9(2), e89086. [12]Bar-Shalita, T., Vatine, J. J., Yarnitsky, D., Parush, S., & Weissman-Fogel, I. (2014). Atypical central pain processing in sensory modulation disorder: absence of temporal summation and higher after-sensation. Experimental brain research, 232(2), 587-595. [13] Elman, I., Upadhyay, J., Langleben, D. D., Albanese, M., Becerra, L., & Borsook, D. (2018). Reward and aversion processing in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder: functional neuroimaging with visual and thermal stimuli. Translational psychiatry, 8(1), 1-15. [14] Harrison, R., Zeidan, F., Kitsaras, G., Ozcelik, D., & Salomons, T. V. (2019). Trait mindfulness is associated with lower pain reactivity and connectivity of the default mode network. The Journal of Pain, 20(6), 645-654. [15]Russo, A., Tessitore, A., Esposito, F., Di Nardo, F., Silvestro, M., Trojsi, F., … & Tedeschi, G. (2017). Functional changes of the perigenual part of the anterior cingulate cortex after external trigeminal neurostimulation in migraine patients. Frontiers in neurology, 8, 282. [16] Grahl, A., Onat, S., & Büchel, C. (2018). The periaqueductal gray and Bayesian integration in placebo analgesia. Elife, 7, e32930 [17] Baad-Hansen, L., Lu, S., Kemppainen, P., List, T., Zhang, Z., & Svensson, P. (2015). Differential changes in gingival somatosensory sensitivity after painful electrical tooth stimulation. Experimental Brain Research, 233(4), 1109-1118 [18] Rahal, V., Gallinari, M. D. O., Barbosa, J. S., Martins-Junior, R. L., Santos, P. H. D., Cintra, L. T. A., & Briso, A. L. F. (2018). Influence of skin cold sensation threshold in the occurrence of dental sensitivity during dental bleaching: a placebo controlled clinical trial. Journal of Applied Oral Science, 26. [19] Mo, X., Zhang, J., Fan, Y., Svensson, P., & Wang, K. (2015). Thermal and mechanical quantitative sensory testing in chinese patients with burning mouth syndrome–a probable neuropathic pain condition?. The journal of headache and pain, 16(1), 84. [20] Gruenwald, I., Mustafa, S., Gartman, I., & Lowenstein, L. (2015). Genital sensation in women with pelvic organ prolapse. International urogynecology journal, 26(7), 981-984. [21]Reed, B. D., Sen, A., Harlow, S. D., Haefner, H. K., & Gracely, R. H. (2017). Multimodal vulvar and peripheral sensitivity among women with vulvodynia: a case-control study. Journal of lower genital tract disease, 21(1), 78. [22] Lesma, A., Bocciardi, A., Corti, S., Chiumello, G., Rigatti, P., & Montorsi, F. (2014). Sexual function in adult life following Passerini-Glazel feminizing genitoplasty in patients with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. The Journal of urology, 191(1), 206-211. [23] Chen, X., Wang, F. X., Hu, C., Yang, N. Q., & Dai, J. C. (2018). Penile sensory thresholds in subtypes of premature ejaculation: implications of comorbid erectile dysfunction. Asian journal of andrology, 20(4), 330.

What fMRI equipment do I need to do an fMRI scan?

In this article, you will get an overview of what equipment you need to be able to perform an fMRI exam. To perform  an fMRI exam four main components are required:

  1. MR scanner with EPI pulse sequence,
  2. Stimulus
  3. Peripheral fMRI equipment
  4. Post-processing and analysis software.

MR scanner with EPI pulse sequence

First, in order to acquire fMRI data, an MR scanner with fMRI specific pulse (Echo Planar Imaging) sequence is required. Most higher filed strength magnets (1.5T -3T) have the EPI sequence built into them.

The most common MR vendors are –

*All NordicNeuroLab products are compatible with all above.

Stimulus

Second, a library of paradigms designed to increase metabolic activity in the area of the brain responsible for a particular sensorimotor process is required. These tasks need to be presented to the patient while inside the MR scanner.

NordicNeuroLab can provide you with the stimulus presentation software nordicAktiva

Peripheral fMRI equipment

Third, and most importantly, MR-compatible hardware is needed to present auditory and visual stimulus to the patient. A response device is necessary to record patient responses, and a synchronization device is required to ensure precise timing between MR image acquisition with the onset of the stimuli.

Visual Stimulus equipment

NordicNeuroLab offers two types of visual stimulus hardware

Turnkey Solution

NordicNeuroLab provides a turnkey solution for clinical fMRI. It is a complete and user-friendly system for simplifying and standardizing implementation of functional MRI in clinical environments.

Post-processing and analysis software

Fourth, once the data is collected, a software is required to perform statistical analysis of fMRI data and overlay it on the high resolution anatomical MR images.

Additional equipment

Eye-tracking

The combination of fMRI and eye-tracking is a very powerful tool in neuroscience and has led to many advances in neuropsychology, neuropsychiatric, neurophysiology, and basic science (Bonhage et al. 2015; Tylen et al. 2012; Hausler et al. 2016; Kalpouzos et al. 2010; Kim et al. 2020)

The NordicNeuroLab VSHD are the only MR compatible goggles with integrated binocular eye-tracking. The video-based PCCR eye-tracking
technology uses two active glint points and an adjustable camera focus for precise and reliable tracking of each eye.

BESA statistics

BESA Statistics 2.1 released!

The successor to the ground-breaking BESA Statistics program is there! BESA Statistics 2.1 greatly enhances the options of the previous version 2.0. As before, dedicated workflows allow you to perform t-test, one-way ANOVA, and correlation analyses of your data using the parameter-free cluster permutation statistics which so elegantly solve the multiple-test problem. We have added several input data types to this pipeline, in order to ensure that time-frequency analyses and connectivity analyses are now fully supported.

The main highlights of the new release are:

  • In all workflows, the data type Connectivity can now be used. This enables direct import of results obtained by BESA Connectivity for group statistics on connectivity results in sensor space or source space.
  • For Image data, a configurable slice view is available that displays sequences in one of three available orthogonal orientation.
  • The color theme can be adjusted between BESA White and the previous BESA Standard.
  • Several new color maps are available.
  • The data values are displayed on mouse-over in the detail windows.
  • Time-frequency data stored by BESA Connectivity with wavelet analysis can now be read with the correct (logarithmic) frequency spacing.
  • Single-trial time-frequency data can now be read in the t-test workflow (.tfcs data format).
  • There is no upper limit on the number of data files imported into the workflow.
  • A new image export format is available (.svg).
  • Screenshots and cluster summary results can now be copied to the clipboard using the right mouse popup menu.
Spike2

The latest Spike2 updates for V10, V9 and V8, for Windows is available now

Features of version 10.07 include:

  • Video recording has a new option to fix timing problems with some cameras. It now compensates for time delays when starting to record video. It also can be used across a remote desktop. Video review has frame accurate video stepping for both MP4 and AVI files.
  • You can display axes in the data area of Time, Result and XY views. This is expected to be useful when generating figures for publication
  • In a time view you can add channels without a y axis to a group (as long as the group head has an axis). This allows you to colour the background of areas of a waveform with states and to superimpose TextMark data.
  • Many useful small improvements and fixes