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:5/31/2016)... ... 31, 2016 , ... More than 80 representatives of the Hepatitis B ... Cancer Foundation held an event on National Hepatitis Testing Day outside of Philadelphia City ... the leading cause of liver cancer. , Foundation leaders and the citywide coalition they ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... May 31, 2016 , ... ... mix of advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the latest in Clinical Patient ... center is integrating predictive analytic outputs directly into the clinical workflow. These insights ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... May 31, 2016 , ... Effective leaders not only drive service to the ... whole. On June 2, Northbound CEO Mike Neatherton and COO Paul Alexander will be ... opening plenary on “Leadership: The Journey to Authenticity” with Onsite Workshops CEO Miles Adcock ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... 31, 2016 , ... In his latest video, renowned AstroNumerologist ... humans. Using presidential candidate Donald Trump as an example, Kalsi describes the way ... not about adding numbers up,” says Kalsi. “It is about looking at each ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... 31, 2016 , ... TeaZa® Energy, LLC announces the launch of ... No Tobacco Day . The new flavor—Tropical TeaZa? Energy—will be available to customers ... , The new flavor is best described as a juicy, taste bud takeover. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... , May 26, 2016 According ... "Medical Waste Management Market - U.S. Industry Analysis, Size, Share, ... management market in the U.S. was valued at US$ 5.89 ... CAGR of 3.4% from 2015 to 2023 to reach US$ ... analysis of current and emerging needle free drug delivery devices ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , May 26, 2016 ... With Both Cost Savings and Overall Decreased ... (LSE: BTG), an international specialist healthcare company, has ... the 21st Annual Meeting of ISPOR (International Society ... of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) using yttrium-90 glass microspheres ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... Since its commercial introduction in ... life science tool for conducting genetic studies in a ... in its new report that the industry sits on ... by a range of new applications in the clinical ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140723/694805 ) , Since the Human ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: