User Guidelines

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Becoming a User
  • User groups are required to have an IRB approved protocol with a description of the intended MEG research before a user account ID or scanning time can be assigned.
  • A Facility Access Request must be filled out electronically ( ) to establish a user account. Filling out this request will initiate the process of establishing a user account ID and password.
  • The account ID and password will give users access to the scheduling calendar and also provide access to the MEG Core Facility data storage system. All requests must be sent electronically.
  • The account ID information will be emailed to the email address provided in the Facility Access Request Form, generally within 24 hours, if not call the Staff Engineer at 301/402-2362.

Required Personnel at MEG Sessions

When performing a MEG scan there must be at least two persons assisting with the study.

  • Two people are required to be present during an MEG study, however, only one person must be capable of operating the equipment.
  • When there is a subject in the MSR, at least one person must be available to observe the subject at all times. If the subject were to suddenly take ill, one person must remain with the subject and the other person should be available to go seek appropriate help.
  • Two people are required to move / position the MEG chair, one person on each side, so that the chair glides evenly on the track and is not torqued to one side or the other which might damage or break the plexiglass track.
  • Two people are required to place the MEG bed for supine recording.

MEG Orientation / Facility Tour
  • Users must schedule / attend an informal MEG orientation / tour to become familiar with the lab operations and equipment.
  • Established users with new protocols will be required to complete a “new” Facility Access Request for each new protocol indicating the new protocol number.
Initiating a MEG Study
  • Users must provide the director and/or staff scientist with a description of the research study design including information regarding setup requirements, software and equipment needs.
  • Users must schedule a time to test their task / paradigm, equipment, software, etc. When scheduling indicate in the scheduling module that the appointment is for a “system test”.
  • Also indicate whether programming or scripting support will be needed for the stimulus program.
  • Also indicate whether technical support is needed – i.e., training or assistance with EEG/EP electrode placement or setup. If you have a specific electrode setup or placement and require MEG Core staff assistance you must provide a detailed description of your setup.
  • Most protocols will require a pilot study to test equipment, paradigms / programs and refine procedures with a test subject. Users must provide their own volunteer subject; if this is an external volunteer, he/she must be consented according to IRB guidelines. Usually this will be discussed and arranged during the MEG orientation tour.
  • You must schedule time for the pilot study via the web calendar. Please indicate in the description that time is being requested for a “pilot study”.
User Training
  • There is a three step training program specifically designed so that users can acquire practical experience. The user is expected to become competent in performing all aspects of MEGs on their own subjects. MEG Core staff is available to provide training and technical assistance as needed.
  • Instruction – (without a subject) MEG setup instructions and equipment operation.
  • Observation – (with a subject) instructions and observation of MEG setup and scan.
  • Practicum – hands on training session running a subject during a MEG scan.
  • Users must provide their own volunteer subject for training; if this is an external volunteer, he/she must be consented according to IRB guidelines.
  • User training must be scheduled via the web-based calendar.
Subject Registration
  • All subjects participating in MEG studies are required to have a valid medical record number (Medical Information System /MIS #).
  • It will be the responsibility of the principal investigator (PI) to make sure that all outpatients and control subjects have gone through the appropriate registration process and have a valid MIS#.
  • A doctor’s order is not required for an MEG scan but a progress note must be placed in the subject’s chart indicating the nature of the scan performed, the date, time, and protocol number. The patient’s condition and general performance should also be noted. The progress must also be signed by the appropriate personnel.
  • An IRB approved consent form must be signed by all subjects prior to participating in any MEG research study.
  • Investigators are required to satisfy all Clinical Center documentation requirements.
  • It will be the responsibility of the PI to assure that subjects have signed the appropriate consent form.

Subject Pre-Screening

  • Although MEG/EEG poses no known risk to subjects, certain physical conditions may make subjects ineligible to participate in scanning. Some subjects will be ruled out for participation in scanning due to factors involving metallic foreign bodies which may prevent obtaining artifact free data.
  • It will be the responsibility of the PI to pre-screen subjects for the below listed contraindications during the selection process.

Conditions That Will Rule Out a Subject:

  • Cardiac pacemaker / Cardiac or neural defibrillators
  • Any magnetic implantation / Implants made from iron (ferrous products)
  • Head size greater than 60 cm: if a subject’s head is too large to fit in the helmet
  • Weight limit??

All MEG subjects should be screened for the following items which may cause recording artifact.

  • Surgical aneurysm clips
  • Shrapnel
  • Intra-orbital metallic structures
  • Neurostimulator
  • Implanted pumps (i.e., Insulin pumps)
  • Metal plates, pins or bolts in head
  • Steel pins from root canals; a permanent retainer
  • Ear implants (certain cochlear implants)
  • Metal rods, plates or screws in the body or mouth
  • Previous surgery (if metal was left in the body)
  • Hearing aids (should be removed before scanning)
  • Braces (causes severe artifact)
  • Tattoos (may have metallic ink)
  • Piercings
Subject Instructions
  • Users/PIs are responsible for giving subjects instructions prior to any scheduled procedure.
  • Subjects should be informed not to wear these items:
    • Bras with underwires
    • Makeup (mascara, eye liner, eye shadow)
    • Clothing containing metallic (shiny) threads or glitter
    • Metal on clothing (i.e., metal buttons, snaps or trimming)
  • Subjects should be informed that metallic/magnetic items should not be taken into the Magnetically Shielded Room (MSR). These include such items as:
    • Belts
    • Keys
    • Watches
    • Coins
    • Eyeglasses
    • Cell phones
    • Pagers
    • Credit Cards
    • Small metal objects such as hair pins, paper clips, safety pins, etc.
    • Shoes (may have metallic dust particles on them)
  • It is the responsibility of the PI to inform subjects that if they arrive unprepared i.e., have metallic/magnetic parts on their clothing that cannot be easily removed, they may be asked to change into non-magnetic clothing which will be provided by staff.
  • If there is any question about whether an object is magnetic, the object is not taken inside the MSR.
  • In order to help inpatients become familiar with MEG an inpatient orientation
     tour may be scheduled at the discretion of the PI or nursing staff.