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MIT: Leveraging learning for artificial respiration
Date:9/11/2007

adapted to the mechanical ventilation. He also found that this learning capability enabled mice to adapt to an artificial rhythm even when the mechanical respirators applied constant air pressure. The rats effectively tuned out this extra pressure, filtering it out as background noise. When Poon disabled the neural pathways involved in nonassociative learning, the rats' ability to adapt was either eliminated or compromised.

Though nonassociative learning is familiar and commonly applied to smelling roses and adjusting to sunlight after emerging from a dark movie theater, it is not usually applied in a clinical environment. Because of their focus on stabilizing patients, clinicians often discount the power of learning. "Many ventilators are designed as if the patient were never in the equation, says Poon. But it turns out, our vital functions can learn to adapt in order to survive.


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Contact: Elizabeth Thomson
thomson@mit.edu
617-258-5402
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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