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Diagnostic Imaging +
Digital Innovations =
Healthier Futures

Scott Abelson, Business Development Director, Medical Imaging, Ricoh USA, Inc.

How measuring brain activity non-invasively is changing lives.


Time: 4 minute read

The brain is the most complex of all known living structures and we still know very little about it, but Ricoh is working to change that. 
Thanks to technology breakthroughs in diagnostic imaging, more sophisticated data gathering and analysis, and innovative thinking, Ricoh is leveraging our experience in managing data to help enable a better understanding of brain function and treatment, leading to better patient outcomes.
Neurological disorders are one of the greatest challenges in healthcare today. While we have seen many advances in diagnostic imaging that allow us to map the living brain, constant innovation is enabling us to understand and address neurological disorders more fully. 
One example of said innovation—and an area that has become an important part of the Ricoh portfolio—is MEG, a helpful abbreviation for magnetoencephalography, a non-invasive technique for measuring human brain activity. 
MEG uses sensors to measure the weak magnetic fields generated by neurons in the brain; it is the only modality that provides for near real-time understanding of the brain’s biomagnetic fields. To date, it has been primarily used to determine what causes epileptic seizures and where they occur.

Recent advances in MEG technology have led to extraordinarily precise neurological diagnoses. Specialists can now use MEG data, along with structural MRI information, to create a dipole, which very specifically maps the part of the brain that triggers seizures – typically a 2-3 millimeter area. 

With mapping this accurate, it is now possible for functional neurosurgeons to remove or resect the targeted area without causing a neuro-deficit. This represents a remarkable advancement in medicine as it offers a potentially far better outcome for many patients when the seizures cannot be controlled with pharmaceutical drugs. 

"The brain is the most complex of all known living structures and we still know very little about it, but Ricoh is working to change that."

Ricoh CT machine

Gathering Better Data, Presenting Data Better

Many people are unfamiliar with how Ricoh’s expertise is at work in the healthcare arena, but it is a great illustration of what we do best: listen to our customers and find the innovative solutions that enable their success. 
The technology that built MEG started with asking doctors, researchers, and hospital administrators how we could help them help their patients most effectively. They told our researchers and engineers that they needed more intuitive software, greater data gathering and analysis, better presentation of the data, and more efficient workflows. Thus began our MEG journey of discovery and innovation. 
At the core of our solution is data: we have increased the measuring capabilities of the Ricoh MEG by increasing the number of sensors and by also finely tuning their sensitivity. By doing so, we gather more data, AND better data. 
Our research with the medical community also inspired our team to optimize how information is presented, a key element to being able to use the data most effectively. We determined that delivering the data on a single screen in an intuitive sequence coupled with a scientifically based interface design was the right answer. It is displayed in a natural order that aligns with clinician analysis and decision making, allowing medical professionals to view the right data more easily at the right time. 
Another area where we worked with researchers and bio-medical engineers to optimize MEG was through data integration, enabling doctors to look at MEG data alongside that of other important diagnostic tools such as PET, EEG and MRI scans. 
With that goal in mind, Ricoh developed software and integrated algorithms that present this data holistically, which has led to a reduction in data analysis time by nearly 50 percent. This allows doctors to get to the core of their work – designing the right path for their patients – and not be slowed by underperforming technology that is not working at an optimal pace.

Evolving innovation expands the possibilities for improved patient outcomes 

While MEG was primarily designed to map the magnetic activity of the brain to determine what causes epileptic seizures, ongoing research with MEG may be able to address other neurological conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, dementia, ASD, PTSD, depression, traumatic brain injury, concussion, Parkinson’s, ALS, and other neurological disorders.
MEG is an illustration of how Ricoh’s rich technology expertise has enabled us to become experts in the management of information, data, and processes. We are solving problems in the medical community by advancing MEG and harnessing big data to drive better outcomes and improve patients’ quality of life. 
It is part of our culture, part of the Ricoh Way. Our mission is to improve operational efficiencies, create smarter workflows, and optimize hardware and software for our customers, freeing them from repetitive and non-core tasks so they can focus on their real work. In this case, that of improving and saving lives. 

Scott Abelson

Scott Abelson serves as Business Development Director, Medical Imaging for Ricoh USA, Inc. He contributes to the growth of Ricoh’s magnetoencephalography (MEG) systems business in the U.S. by developing new relationships with university hospitals, physicians and scientists focused on neurological conditions to ultimately increase the application of Ricoh technology in the neuroscience field.

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