Navigation Links
Tapping the brain orchestra
Date:12/12/2011

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) and Forschungszentrum Jlich in Germany have developed a new method for detailed analyses of electrical activity in the brain. The method, recently published in Neuron, can help doctors and researchers to better interpret brain cell signals. In turn, this may lead to considerable steps forward in terms of interpreting for example EEG measurements, making diagnoses and treatment of various brain illnesses.

Researchers and doctors have been measuring and interpreting electrical activity generated by brain cells since 1875. Doctors have over the years acquired considerable practical skills in relating signal shapes to different brain illnesses such as epilepsy. However, doctors have so far had little knowledge on how these signals are formed in the network of nerve cells.

"Based on methods from physics, mathematics and informatics, as well as computational power from the Stallo supercomputer in Troms, we have developed detailed mathematical models revealing the connection between nerve cell activity and the electrical signal recorded by an electrode," says Professor Gaute Einevoll at the Department of Mathematical Sciences and Technology (IMT) at UMB.

Microphone in a crowd

The problem of interpreting electrical signals measured by electrodes in the brain is similar to that of interpreting sound signals measures by a microphone in a crowd of people. Just like people sometimes all talk at once, nerve cells are also sending signals "on top of each other".

The electrode records the sounds from the whole orchestra of nerve cells surrounding it and there are numerous contributors. One cubic millimetre can contain as many as 100,000 nerve cells.

Treble and bass

Similar to bass and treble in a soundtrack, high and low frequency electrical signals are distinguished in the brain.

"This project has focused on the bass - the low frequency signals called "local field potential" or simply LFP. We have found that if nerve cells are babbling randomly on top of each other and out of sync, the electrode's reach is narrow so that it can only receive signals from nerve cells less than about 0.3 millimetres away. However, when nerve cells are speaking simultaneously and in sync, the range can be much wider," Einevoll says.

Large treatment potential

Better understanding of the electrical brain signals may directly influence diagnosing and treatment of illnesses such as epilepsy.

"Electrodes are already being used to measure brain cell activity related to seizures in epilepsy patients, as well as planning surgical procedures. In the future, LFP signals measured by implanted electrodes could detect an impending epilepsy seizure and stop it by injecting a suitable electrical current," Einevoll says.

"A similar technique is being used on many Parkinson's patients, who have had electrodes surgically implanted to prevent trembling," Researcher Klas Pettersen at UMB adds.

Einevoll and Pettersen also outline treatment of patients paralysed by spinal cord fracture as another potential area where the method can be used.

"When a patient is paralysed, nerve cells in the cerebral cortex continue to send out signals, but the signals do not reach the muscles, and the patient is thus unable to move arms or legs. By monitoring the right nerve cells and forwarding these signals to for example a robot arm, the patient may be able to steer by his or her thoughts alone," Einevoll says.

The Computational Neuroscience Group at UMB has already established contacts with clinical research groups in the USA and Europe for further research on using the approach in patient treatment.


'/>"/>

Contact: Professor Gaute Einevoll
gaute.einevoll@umb.no
47-951-24536
Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Tapping to Music May Help You Hear It
2. When fingers start tapping, the music must be striking a chord
3. "Miracle" Tapping Technique EFT Found to Help Stress, Anxiety, Depression, Trauma and Pain in Reduced Timescales. Workshops Now Offered
4. Tapping into sorghums weed-fighting capabilities to give growers more options
5. Tapping away desire for those favorite foods and snacks
6. Uncovering how cerebral malaria damages the brain
7. Taxi Drivers Show How Learning Changes Adult Brain
8. Brain tsunamis are clue to helping victims of major head injuries
9. Drug reverses aging-associated changes in brain cells
10. Century-old brains may hold future of treatment for mentally ill, Indiana University pathologist says
11. Study finds headaches after traumatic brain injury highest in adolescents and girls
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Tapping the brain orchestra
(Date:5/27/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Most us are familiar with the sound of occasional popping ... Osteoarthritis Initiative shows that certain people who experience consistent joint popping, grating and ... doctors the opportunity to treat patients before the problem becomes pronounced, potentially hedging off ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... VA (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2017 , ... ... pleased to announce a new educational seminar to focus on current legislative activity ... News(LEARN) seminar will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, and will continue ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... Boar’s Head Brand®, ... recipes for Memorial Day entertaining that are sure to satisfy your guests’ flavor ... sliced meats and cheeses featured in these refreshingly balanced recipes are packed with ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and Overseer at The House ... focusing on the Peace Agreements being discussed by President Donald Trump and the rest ... to try to speed up peace talks in the continuous battle between Israel and ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... ... “When the Stars Lead Home”: a poignant story of loss, determination, and perseverance. ... an avid reader who lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, daughter, two ... Camp. She couldn’t be more grateful. , Twelve-year old Tizzy could not believe how ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/6/2017)... , May 5, 2017   Provista , a proven ... than 200,000 customers, today announced Jim Cunniff as ... of executive and business experience to Provista, including most recently ... in California . He assumed his new ... is a great fit for Provista," says Jody Hatcher ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... Tenn. , May 4, 2017  A ... Infection Control, Ultraviolet-C light as a ... Tru-D SmartUVC,s ability to reduce bioburden on anesthesia ... bioburden reduction on high-touch, complex medical equipment surfaces ... surgical infections. "This study further validates ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... May 4, 2017  A new tight-tolerance microextrusion ... other highly-engineered materials, is being launched by Natvar, ... been developed in recent years to service a ... surgical applications. More expensive materials such as glass ... tubing due to their ability to consistently hold ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: