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Direct recording shows brain signal persists even in dreamless sleep
Date:9/30/2008

f five patients with intractable epilepsy at St. Louis Children's Hospital. The scans, during which the subjects did nothing, were taken prior to the temporary installation of grids of electrodes on the surfaces of the patients' brains. The level of detail provided by the grids is essential clinically for pinpointing the source of the seizures for possible surgical removal, a last resort employed only when other treatments failed.

Patients and their guardians gave permission to use the clinical data gathered from these electrodes for scientific research purposes. He's results confirmed that the fMRI data she had gathered earlier reflected changes in brain cell activity exhibited in the gamma frequency signal. But she also noticed the persistent low-frequency signal, which also corresponded to the fMRI data.

"When we looked back in the literature, we found that a similar signal had been the subject of a great deal of animal research using implanted electrodes in the 1960s through the 1980s," she says. "There were suggestions, for example, that when this low-frequency signal, which fluctuates persistently, is in a low trough, the brain may handle mental tasks more effectively."

"What we've shown provides a bridge between the fMRI work many scientists are doing now and the earlier work involving electrical recordings from the brain that emphasized slow activity," says He. "Bringing those two fields together may give us some very interesting insights into the brain's organization and function."


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Contact: Michael C. Purdy
purdym@msnotes.wustl.edu
314-286-0122
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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