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Brain-scanning helmet helps track children in motion

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Scientists have used a modified bike helmet to create a device that can monitor brain activity in children in realtime.

The technology may eventually be used on patients with neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and epilepsy, they reported Tuesday in Nature Communications.

Researchers inserted a wearable magnetoencephalography (MEG) device into a standard bike helmet, and successfully recorded the brain’s response to maternal touch in children aged two to five.

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With standard equipment, it is very difficult to scan children under the age of eight, said Matthew Brookes, who worked on the device and authored the report.

“This is because in younger children, their heads are too small to fit the scanner properly and that means loss of data quality,” he told AFP.

“In addition younger subjects tend to move more.”

The device is equipped with small, lightweight sensors that prevent the scan from being affected by head movement.

Children can wear replicas of the helmet while at home to reduce anxiety during the scanning, the researchers said.

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The technology isn’t limited to children.

Brookes and his colleagues used larger versions of the device to record brain activity on a teenager playing video games, and a 24-year-old playing the ukelele.

Brookes said his colleagues at University College London were working on the clinical use of the MEG device — including diagnosis and surgical mapping — for adults and children with epilepsy.

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He is hopeful that applications can be expanded to other conditions, such as brain injury, mental health and dementia.

“Obviously at the moment it remains nascent technology and is in the hands of clinical researchers. However, we hope that it will be used to scan patients within two to three years,” Brookes said.

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Image Oxford JR Hospital/AFP/File / HO


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AG Bill Barr will ‘try to interfere’ in the 2020 election to re-elect Trump: MSNBC national affairs analyst

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Attorney General William Barr will use the Department of Justice to "try to interfere" in the 2020 presidential election to re-elect Donald Trump, MSNBC's national affairs analyst predicted on Tuesday.

John Heilemann was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC's "The Last Word."

"The attorney general, from the moment he walked into this job, has behaved in a -- as a ruthless, relentless political hack and a thug and who has behaved not as attorney general of the United States," Heilemann said.

"He made a travesty of the Mueller report and continues to lie on Donald Trump's behalf at every opportunity," he added.

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Trump welcomed Russia’s Sergey Lavrov to the White House — to humiliate us all

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Despite the fact that President Donald Trump still refuses to have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington for an officials meeting — a topic at the center of the scandal driving Trump’s impeachment — the White House hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday.

And while Lavrov was honored with his second private Oval Office meeting (the first one was a cataclysmic disaster) and a press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the foreign minister took his opportunity here to repeatedly humiliate the United States.

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United States, Mexico, Canada finalize Donald Trump’s USMCA trade deal

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The United States, Mexico and Canada signed a deal Tuesday to finalize their new trade agreement, paving the way to ratification after more than two years of arduous negotiations.

However, the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in the US Senate would likely delay Congressional ratification of the agreement until next year, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In reality, it is the second time the three countries have triumphantly announced the conclusion of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the deal meant to replace the 25-year-old NAFTA, which President Donald Trump complains has been "a disaster" for the US.

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