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.

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 July 23, 2014 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 July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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