Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Noise Is Good: New Study Overturns Notion That Brain Noise Quiets Down With Maturity

Date:
July 7, 2008
Source:
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
Summary:
Canadian scientists have shown that a noisy brain is a healthy brain. "Brain noise" is a term that has been used by neuroscientists to describe random brain activity that is not important to mental function. Intuitive notions of brain-behavior relationships would suggest that this brain noise quiets down as children mature into adults and become more efficient and consistent in their cognitive processing. But new research overturns this notion.

Canadian scientists have shown that a noisy brain is a healthy brain. "Brain noise" is a term that has been used by neuroscientists to describe random brain activity that is not important to mental function. Intuitive notions of brain-behaviour relationships would suggest that this brain noise quiets down as children mature into adults and become more efficient and consistent in their cognitive processing.

Related Articles


But new research from the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest, published in the July 4, 2008 issue of the Public Library of Science - Computational Biology, overturns this notion.

"What we discovered is that brain maturation not only leads to more stable and accurate behaviour in the performance of a memory task, but correlates with increased brain signal variability," said lead author, Dr. Randy McIntosh, a senior scientist with the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest. "This doesn't mean the brain is working less efficiently. It's showing greater functional variability, which is indicative of enhanced neural complexity."

In the study, 79 participants representing two main age groups -- children (eight to 15) and young adults (20 to 33 years of age) -- completed a series of face memory tasks to measure their ability to recall faces with accuracy. EEG recordings were collected to measure their brain signal activity while performing the task. EEG -- electroencephalography -- is a powerful brain imaging tool that allows for precise measurement of the timing of brain activity in response to external stimuli.

Researchers found that not only did the young adults score better on the face recognition tasks (i.e. they showed more stable and accurate cognitive behaviour) compared to the children, but the young adults' brain signal variability actually increased -- got noisier.

"These findings suggest that the random activity that we think of as noise may actually be a central component of normal brain function," said Dr. McIntosh.

The study was funded by the James S. McDonnell Foundation. Baycrest is an academic health sciences centre, internationally-renowned for its care of aging adults and its excellence in aging brain research, clinical treatments and promising cognitive rehabilitation strategies. Baycrest is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. "Brain Noise Is Good: New Study Overturns Notion That Brain Noise Quiets Down With Maturity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703203240.htm>.
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. (2008, July 7). Brain Noise Is Good: New Study Overturns Notion That Brain Noise Quiets Down With Maturity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703203240.htm
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. "Brain Noise Is Good: New Study Overturns Notion That Brain Noise Quiets Down With Maturity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080703203240.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins