Brilliance Lab

Brain scanning technology has come a long way since its first implementation in the early 1900s.
Once limited to crude instruments and basic X-ray machines, today’s brain scans are far more advanced and sophisticated. They are used for a variety of purposes, from diagnosing neurological disorders to helping high performers unlock their full potential. Here is an overview of how brain scanning technology has evolved over time and the different types of scanners and instruments available today.

The earliest form of brain scanning was introduced in the early 1900s with the invention of the very first X-ray machine by German scientist Wilhelm Roentgen. This machine allowed doctors to see inside the skull for the first time and was soon adopted around the world as a diagnostic tool for diseases like tumours and other anomalies.

The earliest form of EEG was developed by Hans Berger in 1929 and relied on non-invasive electrodes placed on the scalp to measure electrical activity inside the brain. This gave scientists a glimpse into the electrical activity that occurs during different types of mental states such as wakefulness or sleep. Over the years, EEG research has become increasingly sophisticated with improvements in electrode placement accuracy and signal processing algorithms which allow for more precise data collection.

As decades passed, advancements in computed tomography (CT) imaging allowed researchers to map out cross sections of the brain by using multiple X-ray images taken from different angles. This technique eventually gave way to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce detailed pictures that can reveal abnormalities not visible under CT scans or X-rays. MRI scanners were first developed in 1977 at University College London, but it wasn’t until the late 1980s when they started becoming more widely available.

In recent years, new technologies have emerged that allow for even more precise scans of specific parts of the brain in order to analyze different neural processes or identify areas that may be functioning abnormally. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) measures changes in blood flow throughout different areas of the brain as it responds to certain stimuli or tasks – such as feeling emotions, engaging in cognitive processes, or even comprehending language or musical cues. Positron emission tomography (PET) scanners measure metabolic activity within cells by tracking radioactive tracers injected into the body, while single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) looks at differences between normal and abnormal tissue through gamma ray emissions emitted from a radiotracer material injected into tissues during scan procedures. Finally, magnetoencephalography (MEG) records tiny electrical currents produced by neurons via electromagnetic fields generated around them as they process information.

Similarly, EEG has also undergone evolutions over the decades. Despite its usefulness in medical settings, EEG still has its limitations when it comes to research aimed at understanding brain function in healthy individuals. This is where qEEG comes into play; qEEG stands for quantitative electroencephalography and it uses computer processing to provide a more detailed analysis of raw EEG data. By applying mathematical algorithms to the raw data collected from electrodes placed on the scalp, researchers are able to quantify changes across different regions of the brain which can then be used to compare one person’s mental state against another’s or track changes within an individual over time.

The benefits of using qEEG compared to traditional EEG are numerous; firstly, it provides researchers with greater precision when interpreting results due to its ability to quantify brain activity rather than just providing qualitative data about general trends in electrical activity like traditional EEG does. Furthermore, because qEEG focuses on specific areas of the brain rather than global patterns, it can be used to detect subtle differences between individuals which may not otherwise be picked up by regular EEG measurements. As such, qEEG can be extremely useful for professionals and high performers who are looking for more detailed insight into their cognitive processes as well as potential ways to optimize them for optimal performance. Additionally, since qEEG measures can be taken multiple times during any given session—something that isn’t possible with traditional EEG methods—it can also provide longitudinal tracking so that people can measure progress over time if they choose too.

These various forms of brain scanning technology have been used for decades now in both clinical settings and research studies alike – with each type having its own particular advantages depending on what kind of results one is looking for. But recently there’s been a renewed interest among high performers who want to take advantage of these tools to gain insight into their own brains’ functioning and optimize their thought processes for peak performance – through techniques such as neurofeedback training or “brain hacking” aimed at altering neural pathways in order to attain specific goals.

At this point we are still just beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to understanding how our brains work and tapping into their potential – but thanks to advances in modern technology we now have access to sophisticated tools capable of providing us with unparalleled insights into our own minds. Whether it’s diagnosing neurological conditions, researching groundbreaking treatments, helping high performers reach their full potential – or simply exploring what makes us tick – there’s no denying that brain scanning technology has come a long way since its humble beginnings over 100 years ago.