NeuroSKILL Workshop in Bangor

9 Jul

2013-07-06 13.37.54This weekend saw four of us from the lab sail away to Bangor to take part in the NeuroSKILL workshop series. NeuroSKILL is a collaborative effort between Bangor University in Wales, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin to promote and develop training programmes in the use of neuroimaging in dementia and technology and knowledge transfer between Ireland and Britain in this area.

The course itself was two days. The Friday consisted of a series of lectures on different topics related to dementia and neuroimaging; in isolation and related. Topics included the current research in dementia, neuroimaging and neurochemistry in dementia and an overview of imaging techniques. The Saturday was made up of practical sessions where we got to see the processes involved in MRI and data handling.


Initially we learned the processes involved in preparing and running an MRI scan with DTI, which I will go into more detail about later. Paul Mullins, the coordinator, ran an MRI of a volunteer as we observed and talked us through the safety procedures, contraindications and dangers of MR use. Following this we took part in three workshops about the handling of imaging data; hippocamal volumetry, Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS). Hippocampal Volumetry, or indeed any volumetry, involves calculating the volume of white and grey matter and CSF and use this and your value for the hippocampus to calculate the hippocampal volume as a percentage of the total Intracranial Volume. Because brains vary in size and the amount of degradation in dementia such as Alzheimer’s you can’t just have a standard figure for this. DTI involves mapping white matter tracts in the brain and examining the directionality of water movement in the brain. I would like to use this at some stage in my research because I think it could provide an interesting insight into unilateral spatial neglect. MRS is a tool to examine the level of different neurochemicals in the brain. I’m not too up on chemistry if I’m honest but the co-ordinator explained it very well and it was very interesting to see the different levels of different neurotranmitters laid out in a clear way on the screen. The whole day was really fascinating and definitely made me thing how I could apply neuroimaging techniques, aside from EEG, to my own research. It was great to get some hands-on experience with handling imaging data and how to manipulate same using different methods, rather than just the theoretical experience you typically get.

2013-07-06 14.46.08    20130706_121400    2013-07-06 14.55.46    20130706_153743

It was a fantastic weekend and I’d highly recommend NeuroSkill events to everyone involved in this sort of research.

2013-07-06 16.32.02    (We also spent a lot of time lying in the sun)


2 Responses to “NeuroSKILL Workshop in Bangor”

  1. Stefano Farina July 11, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    Very interesting information, good pictures also

  2. Paul Mullins July 19, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    Glad to hear the work shop was enjoyable and worth the travel from Ireland. We were glad to have you come along. Keep an eye out for the next one planned for Cork, and then one in Dublin later in the year.

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