Navigation Links
UCLA/Technion study uncovers brain's code for pronouncing vowels
Date:8/21/2012

Diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease at 21, British physicist Stephen Hawking, now 70, relies on a computerized device to speak. Engineers are investigating the use of brainwaves to create a new form of communication for Hawking and other people suffering from paralysis. -Daily Mail

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 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," explained 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 Technion's Ariel Tankus, formerly a postdoctoral researcher in Fried's lab, 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 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 areasthe superior temporal gyrus and a region in the medial frontal lobethat 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," said Fried. "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 possiblespecifically, 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 Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Study Casts Doubt on Link Between MS and Vein Trouble
2. Teens Who Drink, Smoke More Likely to Abuse Painkillers: Study
3. Curbing Circumcision Boosts STDs, Study Contends
4. Close Relatives Early Death May Raise Your Heart Risk: Study
5. Stem Cells Fix Bladder Leakage in Mice, Study Finds
6. Teens Who Drink, Smoke More Likely to Abuse Painkillers Later: Study
7. Study to evaluate zoning code reforms and physical activity
8. Men Have a Greater Lifetime Risk for Kidney Failure: Study
9. Anesthesia Before Age 3 May Raise Risk of Learning Delays: Study
10. Obesity in Middle Age Tied to More Rapid Mental Decline: Study
11. Stanford/Intel study details power of new chip to diagnose disease, analyze protein interactions
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/25/2017)... ... ... Swissray is pleased to announce the release of the ELITE DXA, a new bone ... scan window, which is more than double that of existing bone densitometers. Historically, subjects ... an accurate total body bone density or body composition study. The ELITE DXA ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... Vighter established its NAEMT ... by providing Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) course scholarships to four medics assigned ... education developed in cooperation with the American College of Surgeons to promote critical ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... NY (PRWEB) , ... March 24, 2017 , ... ... scale; from third world countries to hospitals in the United States, it’s a ... conversation on the current obstacles facing infection prevention and offers strategies for the ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ... March 24, 2017 , ... The Radiology Business Management Association (RBMA) ... awards, now in their 12th year, are among the most prestigious in radiology marketing ... the awards were retooled to recognize achievements in both large budget (over $5,000) and ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... TX (PRWEB) , ... March 24, 2017 , ... ... clinic which can be found at 9618 Huebner Road. The clinic is the group’s ... OCS, Clinic Director, and Dr. Ali Higgins, PT, will provide care from the clinic, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/24/2017)... DUBLIN , Mar 24, 2017 Research ... in Drug Discovery and Diagnostics, 2017 - 2035" report to ... The ... current landscape and future outlook of the growing market of deep ... data revolution, deep learning algorithms have emerged as a novel solution ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 Today Stock-Callers.com have issued ... are: Neovasc Inc. (NASDAQ: NVCN), Hologic Inc. (NASDAQ: HOLX), Edwards ... SSH ). These companies are part of the Healthcare ... Thursday, March 23 rd , 2017, with the NYSE Health ... health care companies in the S&P 500 were down about ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... INDIANAPOLIS , March 24, 2017  Eli ... today announced plans to invest $850 million in ... span facilities across its U.S. enterprise, including research ... The investments are being driven by demand for ... of potential medicines in development targeting cancer, pain, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: