The Guardian: Scientists create technology to monitor nerve overload in surgeons

March 4, 2024  18:13

British scientists from University College London have developed a prototype system to monitor the mental state of surgeons performing complex operations. It can detect signs of fatigue, which puts a specialist at risk of making mistakes during life-saving procedures, The Guardian reports.

The technology uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), a non-invasive method of measuring changes in blood oxygenation (oxygen levels) in the brain, which serves as a key indicator of neural activity. To use it, all you need to do is wear a special helmet with electrodes on your head.

Researchers are currently testing the system to improve its effectiveness in detecting cognitive overload using fNIRS, which indicates a decline in physician performance.

The researchers are also exploring the possibility of non-invasive transcranial transcranial direct current brain stimulation to improve the performance of medical professionals.

The method involves passing a weak electric current between two electrodes on the scalp. Previous experiments have shown that trainee surgeons perform better at suturing when receiving such stimulation and also hone their skills more quickly. However, the method had no effect on the performance of their more experienced colleagues.

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