University of Aberdeen - Media Releases

Donation secures world class technology to help diagnose childhood illnesses

Cutting edge equipment which will enhance the assessment of critical childhood brain disorders such as autism is to be purchased by the University of Aberdeen, thanks to the generosity of an Aberdeen association.

Representatives from Aberdeen Oilman's Golf Association (AOGA) gifted a donation of £35,000 to the University, to go towards a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) compatible Audiovisual System.

The system, which allows children to watch pictures or film and listen to audio whilst undergoing brain scanning procedures, provides a significant boost to the imaging facilities offered by the University.

The equipment is set to particularly benefit research into autism by allowing researchers to monitor eye movements, and as a consequence brain functions, more accurately.

The funds donated by AOGA were a result of their annual charity golf tournament which was held at Gleneagles in May. The purchase of the equipment is also part funded by the Scottish Neuroimage Pooling Initiative (SINAPSE).

The system is set to be installed within the radiology department at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary before the end of the year.

Dr Justin Williams from Child Health, University of Aberdeen said: "MRI is a vital tool used for examining children's brains both in research and clinical practice. However the process can be challenging for young patients as they are required to lie very still in a confined and noisy environment, often for significant periods of time. Due to the inherent difficulties of this, children may require general anaesthetics for procedures to be conducted safely, which can be traumatic.

"The new equipment will allow the child undergoing MRI to watch and listen to a high quality video throughout the procedure which will keep them occupied, removing the need for anaesthetics.

"The equipment will also allow us to monitor eye movements more carefully during the brain scanning process and therefore gain a better understanding of how the brain responses change according to what the child is looking at. This is particularly beneficial in autism research which is characterised by unusual patterns of gaze and eye movements"

"With this equipment we will have facilities for magnetic resonance imaging of children's brains that match the best of those in any other hospital or research institute in the world."

Doug Sedge, Chairman of Aberdeen Oilman's Golf Association said: "Annually our Oilman's Golf Association charity golf tournament chooses to support a worthy local cause. This year we are delighted to help fund such a crucial piece of equipment which will enhance the healthcare provisions for children across the North East of Scotland."


Notes to Editors:

For further information or to give support for this project, please contact Vicki Corbett on 01224 274111 or email

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Monday 18th of August 2008

Ref: 216autism2
Contact: Kelly Cromar