Until 2011, NIPS had been conducting two individual cooperative studies on its large-scale functional imaging machines, the magnetic resonance imaging machine, and the magnetoencephalography machine. However, as it became apparent that many researchers used both machines, it would be more efficient for everyone if the two studies were combined into one in 2012.
Magnetic resonance imaging involves two research themes, “non-destructive three-dimensional observation of living organisms” and “structure and energy state observation of organic activity, including brain activators.” Currently, the institute has a 3 Tesla machine in 2000, which is twice as powerful as the standard 1.5 Tesla machine, and has a considerable advantage when measuring cerebral blood flow in brain activator tests. Another characteristic is that it is capable of running primate brain activator tests. On top of this, it systematically processes all experimental designs, image data, and statistical image analysis, making it more than just a high-resolution image machine, but something that produces high-quality data that researchers need. In 2010, the two machines were interlocked, becoming a dual system capable of analyzing brain function related to social communication. A new 7 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging machine for a human was introduced in 2014, and the operation was started in 2015. In 2016, three cooperative study projects using 7T machine were performed for the purpose of technical assessment and development, and two are now scheduled in 2017. After confirming stable operation, it will be fully provided for cooperative studies.
In 1991, the first 37 channel magnetoencephalography （MEG） machine in Japan was installed at NIPS and has since been a pioneer for MEG studies, even getting recognition from the international community. At the same time, researchers from universities and institutes without a MEG machine took part in collaborative studies with NIPS, many of who discovered fascinating results. Even today, NIPS is the only institute providing researchers the opportunity to use the MEG machine in cooperative studies using large facilities. In 2002, a new whole-head type MEG machine was installed, allowing clinical test measurements impossible at other universities to be made at NIPS. Cooperative MEG study themes either come under, “higher brain function investigations such as judgment, memory, and learning” or, “sensory and motor function investigations”. A significant problem that is likely to come up shortly is how to use the MEG machine simultaneously with other techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging （fMRI）, transcranial magnetic stimulation （TMS）and near infrared spectroscopy （NIRS）.
The National Institute for Physiological Sciences（NIPS）...