Navigation Links
Scientists from UCLA, Israel's Technion uncover brain's code for pronouncing vowels
Date:8/22/2012

Scientists at UCLA and the Technion, Israel's Institute of Technology, have unraveled how our brain cells encode the pronunciation of individual vowels in speech.

Published in the Aug. 21 edition of the journal Nature Communications, the discovery could lead to new technology that verbalizes the unspoken words of people paralyzed by injury or disease.

"We know that brain cells fire in a predictable way before we move our bodies," said Dr. Itzhak Fried, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "We hypothesized that neurons would also react differently when we pronounce specific sounds. If so, we may one day be able to decode these unique patterns of activity in the brain and translate them into speech."

Fried and the Technion's Ariel Tankus, formerly a postdoctoral researcher in Fried's lab at UCLA, followed 11 UCLA epilepsy patients who had electrodes implanted in their brains to pinpoint the origin of their seizures. The researchers recorded neuron activity as the patients uttered one of five vowels, or syllables containing the vowels.

With the Technion's Shy Shoham, the team studied how the neurons encoded vowel articulation at both the single-cell and collective level. The scientists found two areas the superior temporal gyrus and a region in the medial frontal lobe that housed neurons related to speech and attuned to vowels. The encoding in these sites, however, unfolded very differently.

Neurons in the superior temporal gyrus responded to all vowels, although at different rates of firing. In contrast, neurons that fired exclusively for only one or two vowels were located in the medial frontal region.

"Single-neuron activity in the medial frontal lobe corresponded to the encoding of specific vowels," Fried said. "The neuron would fire only when a particular vowel was spoken, but not other vowels."

At the collective level, neurons' encoding of vowels in the superior temporal gyrus reflected the anatomy that made speech possible specifically, the tongue's position inside the mouth.

"Once we understand the neuronal code underlying speech, we can work backwards from brain-cell activity to decipher speech," said Fried. "This suggests an exciting possibility for people who are physically unable to speak. In the future, we may be able to construct neuro-prosthetic devices or brain-machine interfaces that decode a person's neuronal firing patterns and enable the person to communicate."


'/>"/>

Contact: Elaine Schmidt
eschmidt@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2272
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists ID Cancer-Causing Agent in Smokeless Tobacco
2. UCSB scientists examine effects of manufactured nanoparticles on soybean crops
3. Scientists report promising new direction for cognitive rehabilitation in the elderly
4. Scientists to investigate preventing life-threatening complications in transplant patients
5. Scientists decode TREX which could see new treatments for cancer realized
6. Scientists devise new strategy to destroy multiple myeloma
7. Scientists ID New Gene Regions Linked to Type 2 Diabetes
8. Scientists discover how iron levels and a faulty gene cause bowel cancer
9. Scripps Florida scientists awarded nearly $1.5 million to develop new approaches to treat cancer
10. Scientists ID New Gene Linked to Vision Loss in Infants
11. Fruit flies light the way for A*STAR scientists to pinpoint genetic changes that spell cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/23/2017)... California (PRWEB) , ... January 23, 2017 , ... Old ... principles, has added Mr. Olympia Classic Physique bodybuilder Breon Ansley to its growing team ... competing as a bodybuilder in 2012 and in less than a year was able ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... , ... January 23, 2017 , ... ... high-quality general gynecological care and gynecological services for women of all ... care for a wide variety of reproductive services from routine health screenings to ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... January 23, 2017 , ... “Crossing the Bar”: ... minutes of a woman’s life. “Crossing the Bar” is the creation of published author, ... children. , Charlotte, who credits the inspiration of the book to her sister, ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... ... “Life Under Blankets”: an entrancing story about one woman's travels through ... the creation of published author, Kimberly Mitchell, who earned her bachelor’s degree in English ... pursue a master’s degree in education in the field of curriculum and instruction. Kimberly’s ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... ... January 23, 2017 , ... Valentine’s Day is a time when many people celebrate romance ... those who may be looking for the ideal present, Atlanta-based Perimeter Plastic Surgery ... additional $25 free. Or, spend $200 and get $50 free. , “A lot of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/22/2017)... Saudi Arabia , January 22, 2017 ... US and UAE discuss the ... at the World Economic Forum   "The management and delivery of ... and powered by artificial intelligence and this trend is going to get bigger ... the Future, at the concluding day of the 47 th Annual Meeting ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... 2017 According to a new market research ... R&D, Compliance, SCM), Component (Software, Service), Delivery (On premise, Cloud), End ... by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to reach USD 24.73 Billion ... of 13.3% during the forecast period. ... ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Administration, End User - Forecast to 2025" report to their ... The Global ... of around 7.8% over the next decade to reach approximately $330.70 ... global markets for Advanced Drug Delivery across all the given segments ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: