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New study to test unusual hypothesis on beta brainwaves
Date:11/28/2011

began to publish together in the Journal of Neurocience, the Journal of Neurophysiology, and Neuroimage. All the while they puzzled over where these beta-stimulating, two-factor signals could be coming from. Eventually they traced them, at least hypothetically, back to the "non-specific" area of the thalamus and farther back to the basal ganglia.

At Brown for the big moment

Although each researcher maintains other collaborations, they jumped at the chance to come to Brown last summer. Here they said can collaborate without crossing any bridges and they have access to Brown's computing resources, which can allow Jones's model to expand and run faster.

The groundwork of their hypothesis, their increasingly close collaboration, and their access to resources made their first grant application at Brown a success. Now all they have to do is find out if they are right or wrong.

As they have always done, Moore will lead the physiological side of things. He'll use optogenetics, a new technology in which scientists engineer brain cells to be turned on or off by flashes of light, to take over the circuits of mice from the basal ganglia to the cortex. He'll be able to see whether turning off particular cells in the basal ganglia, for example, causes beta oscillations in the somatosensory cortex to stop, as the hypothesis and the model would suggest.

Meanwhile, Jones will expand the model to incorporate those upstream parts of the brain, the basal ganglia and the thalamus, so that it is more complete. She plans to feed what Moore sees in his experimental results back into the model to refine it as well.

The grant runs through the end of October 2014, which should be enough time for Moore and Jones to find out whether they have traced beta oscillations to their neural roots.

Moore simultaneously discounts and revels in speculation about what the hypothesis would say about the brain if it is indeed true. Does th
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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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