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Physiological Monitoring/ Data Acquisition

Mock Magnet


The Biomedical Imaging Core (BIC) is located on the second floor of CNY 149 and is approximately 1,200 sq. ft. Facilities include a patient reception/waiting area, two private outpatient exam rooms, a large shared outpatient exam room with four patient areas, computing resources, a clinical laboratory, a metabolic kitchen, and office space for the BIC staff. Please see Key Personnel for a detailed description of the services available from each of our staff members.

Although the BIC is designated to support low-risk studies, all BIC outpatient exam areas and imaging areas are appropriately staffed and equipped with emergency power, oxygen, suction, code cart and defibrillator to address any patient emergency situations. BIC personnel work with the MGH Pharmacy to maintain code carts adjacent to CRC dedicated space as well as at appropriate sites near each of the imaging systems where invasive studies are conducted. The CNY 2 BIC facility is equipped with the same clinical monitoring systems used in the main MGH facility. This includes the Propaq and a 12 lead ECG.

Applying to Use BIC        top

All studies that require use of CRC supported equipment in either the BIC or the scanner suites must have prior CRC approval (i.e. an active SPID number). During the submission process, the investigator indicates what equipment and services are needed. When the study is approved, the protocol nurse will meet with the investigator's research team to discuss the details of implementation of the study. Information about how to apply to the CRC can be found here.

Subject Reception/waiting Area        top

Our Operations Associates staff the unit during business hours to serve the needs of research subjects and investigators. Investigators are welcome to use this area to meet their research subjects who are scheduled for a visit in an exam room or imaging facility. Study subjects who have a wait time between study activities may watch movies or read in this area. In addition, investigators may use the educational resources on premises for magnet safety training and image analysis methods.

Outpatient Exam Rooms

The two private outpatient exam rooms and the larger shared four person outpatient exam room are designed to support clinical imaging studies that may include complex cognitive, pharmacological, and physiological challenges. The rooms can be used for experimental paradigm development of imaging studies and for monitoring subjects before and/or after an imaging study. All outpatient exam spaces are equipped to support physical examinations, cognitive testing, insertion of intravenous lines, and physiological monitoring.

Two private rooms, Room 2215 and Room 2216, are sound attenuated and are ideal for private interviews and testing. Room 2216 is electrically shielded making it appropriate for conducting sensitive EEG, TMS and optical imaging studies. It is also equipped for Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS Any study that requires the use of TMS must have prior CRC approval. Room 2216 is also equipped with medical grade air, O2 and CO2 appropriate for performing respiratory and metabolic challenge studies. Room 2215 has close proximity to a bathroom and a scale. It can accommodate small equipment, such as a computer, to perform neuropsychiatric batteries.

The private rooms are sound-attenuated and one of the rooms is electrically shielded and is appropriate for conducting sensitive EEG, TMS and optical imaging studies. The electrically shielded outpatient exam room is also equipped with medical grade air, O2 and CO2.

The larger shared four person outpatient exam room accommodates up to four patients at a time and has space available to house study-specific equipment. Resources and capabilities include but are not limited to phlebotomy, infusions, oral glucose tolerance tests, maintenance of arterial lines, neurological testing, and portable physiological monitoring. With its close proximity to the lab, this space is ideal for timed blood sampling. The large space can accommodate debilitated patients who may use wheelchairs or assistive ambulatory devices.


Physiological Monitoring and Data Acquisition   top

The physiological monitoring capabilities include both clinical monitoring and data acquisition support, as required by a study. For data acquisition needs in the BIC, the modular physiological monitoring system duplicates the system that is currently set up in the 1.5 T(Bay 2) and 3.0T (Bays 3 and 4) MRI suites. The modular physiological monitoring system includes equipment to measure invasive and non-invasive blood pressure, heart rate, ECG, oxygen saturation, temperature, skin conductance, expired carbon dioxide concentrations and respiration rate (see below for further details). The electrically shielded outpatient exam room and Bay 4 MR suite are also equipped with medical grade air, O2 and CO2.

The Biomedical Imaging Core facility is equipped with a complete PowerLab system ( for recording physiological data in a comparable format to what will be recorded in the MRI suites. The system records electrocardiogram (ECG), pulse plethysmagraph, skin temperature, electrodermal skin conductance (galvanic skin response or GSR), respiratory rate, end tidal CO2 (ETCO2), and ventilation volume. Additional recording channels allow each investigator to collect behavioral or other data simultaneously within the same acquisition system. Each acquisition channel can be independently configured for software filtering of the signals, and "on the fly" data analysis. Data are collected on a PC, but data files can be saved in either PC or Mac format for later analysis in the investigator’s preferred format.

The physiological monitoring systems in the MRI suites include both PowerLab (see and InVivo equipment to ensure data and magnet compatibility. The PowerLab equipment measures invasive and non-invasive blood pressure, heart rate, ECG, oxygen saturation, temperature, skin conductance, expired oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations, and respiration rate (see below for further details). The Bay 4 MRI suite is equipped with medical grade air, O2 and CO2. All three Bays are equipped with InVivo clinical monitoring equipment. The PowerLab and InVivo systems in Bay 4 are configured so that InVivo signals can be recorded together with those acquired by the PowerLab system and the trigger pulse from the scanner to enable the investigator to extract the physiological data corresponding to each scan acquisition.

The BIC staff is responsible for the installation, maintenance, and calibration of the human subjects physiological monitoring systems located in the Martinos Center scanner Bays 2, 3 and 4, as well as in the BIC. We maintain up-to-date certification of all the systems with MGH Biomedical Engineering. Our nursing staff will either assist the investigator or independently instrument the research subject, collect the requested data, and provide a copy of the data file to the investigator on a CD at the end of each subject visit. The CRC BIC has a site license for the Martinos Center so that the acquisition and analysis software, PowerLab Chart and Scope (with training manuals), can be freely distributed to all collaborating investigators.

For detailed instructions of the power lab physiological data collection setup in Bay 2/3/4, please click here.

Mock Magnet     top

The Athinoula A. Martinos Center houses a mock magnet, complete with recordings of loud scanner noises, to replicate the physical environment of an MRI scanner. It serves as a practice setting for magnet-naive subjects to experience the magnet environment before the actual study.

In addition, the mock magnet allows investigators to refine aspects of their protocols and to train study personnel by providing a space to practice performing preliminary trials of physiologic monitoring, drug administration, and other stimuli.

The CRC BIC supports the user community by overseeing the sign-up and access to this space and by providing logistical support.

For detailed instructions of the power lab physiological data collection setup in Mock Scanner, please click here.

Clinical Laboratory     top

The BIC includes a small clinical laboratory for specimen preparation and temporary storage of specimens with centrifuges , 4°C and –20 °C refrigerator/freezer space. The laboratory is outfitted with both clean and dirty areas for storage with separate wash facilities. All investigators wishing to use this facility for CRC supported studies will be trained in the JCAHO approved laboratory procedures by our staff.To learn more about the procedures for use of BIC specimen processing lab , please contact 617-726-0807.

Pharmacy     top

The BIC medication closet allows investigators to maintain a supply of investigational drugs that can be dispensed on site. The MGH Research Pharmacy provides logistical support for pharmacy services such as special formulations, drug procurement, storage, record keeping, study fees, inventory control, drug distribution, packaging and labeling, randomization and blinding, just as it does for the main CRC. This ensures that future clinical trials with biomedical imaging as outcome measures will be in compliance with federal regulations.

Key Personnel