Navigation Links
Blink, and the brain misses it

We would immediately notice if the outside world suddenly went dark every few seconds. But we rarely become aware of our blinks, even though they cause a similar reduction in the amount of light entering the eye. So why are we not aware of the frequent mini-blackouts caused by blinks?

In the 1980s, scientists discovered that visual sensitivity begins decreasing immediately before a blink, but the brain mechanisms underlying this process have until now remained unclear. As they report this week, Davina Bristow and a team of scientists at University College London led by Dr. Geraint Rees may now have found a reason for why blinks go unnoticed.

In their study, the researchers devised a clever way to monitor the brain's activity under conditions in which the amount of light received by the eye was constant, regardless of blinking. The researchers achieved this by placing a light-emitting optical fibre in the mouth of volunteers wearing light-proof goggles. Because the light was bright enough to pass through tissues of the face, the fibre could be used to illuminate the retina through the roof of the mouth. Therefore, the amount of light falling on the retina remained constant, even when the volunteers blinked. The researchers then performed a type of brain scan known as functional magnetic resonance imaging and could thus measure whether the act of blinking--independently of any change in light normally caused by eyelid closure--would influence the level of light-activated brain activity.

The UCL scientists found that when volunteers were blinking, brain activity was suppressed in areas that respond to visual input, even though the light falling onto the retina remained constant throughout the blink. Many of these brain areas are activated when people become conscious of visual events or objects in the outside world. "Transiently suppressing these brain areas involved in visual awareness during blinks may be a neural mechanism for preventing the b rain from becoming aware of the eyelid sweeping down over the pupil during a blink and the world going dark," explains Professor Frith. In summing up the study's implications, the authors suggest that when we blink, the brain may just miss it.

Bristow et al.: "Blinking suppresses the neural response to unchanging retinal stimulation." Publishing in Current Biology, Vol. 15, 1296?300, July 26, 2005. DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2005.06.025 www.current-biology.com


'"/>

Source:Cell Press


Related biology news :

1. Controversial drug shown to act on brain protein to cut alcohol use
2. Mouse brain cells rapidly recover after Alzheimers plaques are cleared
3. Mouse brain tumors mimic those in human genetic disorder
4. New imaging method gives early indication if brain cancer therapy is effective, U-M study shows
5. First atlas of key brain genes could speed research on cancer, neurological diseases
6. NYU study reveals how brains immune system fights viral encephalitis
7. Stem cells from brain transformed to produce insulin at Stanford
8. Birds brains reveal source of songs
9. Loves all in the brain: fMRI study shows strong, lateralized reward, not sex, drive
10. Revolutionary nanotechnology illuminates brain cells at work
11. A puzzle piece found in unraveling the wiring of the brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/2/2016)... June 2, 2016   The Weather Company , an ... Ads, an industry-first capability in which consumers will be able ... to ask questions via voice or text and receive relevant ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution ... can be personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt is excited ... with VoicePass. By working together, VoiceIt ...  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly different approaches ... increases both security and usability. ... about this new partnership. "This marketing ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... Lithuania , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, ... released the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System ... of large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process ... accuracy using any combination of fingerprint, face or ... MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... supplements, is pleased to announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into ... for over 35 years, is proud to add Target to its list of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the creation ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the ... a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the ... WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, possessing ... for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been achieved ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed a ... serve as their official health care provider. As ... provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and most ... athletes and families. "We are excited ... to bring Houston Methodist quality services and programs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased ... and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: