What was your high school mascot? Where did you put your keys last night? Who was the first president of the United States?
Groups of neurons in your brain are currently sending electromagnetic rhythms through established pathways in order for you to recall the answers to each of these questions. Researchers in Drexel's School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems are now getting a rare look inside the brain to discover the exact pattern of activity that produces a memory.
Dr. Joshua Jacobs, a professor in Drexel's School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, is analyzing data accumulated from 60 epilepsy patients who have had electrodes implanted on their brains in order to determine the causes of their epileptic episodes.
"When performing seizure mapping, surgeons implant electrodes in many brain areas, while searching for seizure activity," Jacobs said. "Thus, there many electrodes end up being in normal brain tissue, and they measure neuronal activity that reflects normal brain function this is the function that we're studying to learn about the nature of working memory."
A Hi-Res Look at the Brain
This type of study is unique because researchers are essentially looking at a more detailed picture of the brain than those generated from the more common electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
"Because the electrodes are implanted directly on the brain surface, inside of the skull, they measure brain activity more precisely than noninvasive technique, such as EEG or MRI," Jacobs said. "This reveals more detailed brain patterns than can be observed with external recording technology."
Jacobs equates his research technique to using a set of microphones to record an orchestra. If each microphone is positioned right next to an individual instrument, it gives a better recording than if the microphones are outside of the building.
|Contact: Britt Faulstick|