Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Singing Brain' Offers Epilepsy And Schizophrenia Clues

Date:
May 19, 2009
Source:
Cardiff University
Summary:
Studying the way a person's brain "sings" could improve our understanding of conditions such as epilepsy and schizophrenia and help develop better treatments, scientists have discovered.

Using sophisticated brain imaging, researchers have found that when a person looks at a visual pattern their brain "sings" -- i.e., produces an electrical signal at a set frequency.
Credit: iStockphoto/Hayden Bird

Studying the way a person's brain 'sings' could improve our understanding of conditions such as epilepsy and schizophrenia and help develop better treatments, scientists at Cardiff University have discovered.

Research by a team working in Cardiff University's Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) has discovered that a person's brain produces a unique electrical oscillation at a particular frequency when a person looks at a visual pattern.

Importantly, the team found that the frequency of this oscillation appears to be determined by the concentration of a neurotransmitter chemical, GABA, in the visual cortex of each person's brain. The more GABA was present, the higher the frequency or "note" of the oscillation. GABA is a key inhibitory neurotransmitter and is essential for the normal operation of the brain.

The research was primarily carried out by Dr Suresh Muthukumaraswamy and Dr Richard Edden.

Professor Krish Singh of Cardiff University's School of Psychology, who led the research, said: "Using sophisticated MEG and MRI brain imaging equipment, we've found that when a person looks at a visual pattern their brain produces an electrical signal, known as a gamma oscillation, at a set frequency.

"In effect, each person's brain 'sings' at a different note in the range 40-70 Hz. This is similar to the notes in the lowest octaves of a standard piano keyboard or the lower notes on a bass guitar. Importantly, we also found that this frequency appears to be controlled by how much of an essential neurotransmitter, GABA, is present in a person's visual cortex."

The researchers believe that their findings will have important implications for future clinical studies, especially in terms of increasing our understanding of conditions such as epilepsy and schizophrenia, where it is known that there may be a problem with GABA.

Professor Singh added: "As a result of our research, we are already looking to share this work with our medical colleagues. In particular, we hope that the study of gamma oscillation frequency will provide a new window into the action of neurotransmitters such as GABA and how their function is compromised in diseases such as epilepsy and schizophrenia."

"We also believe that our findings could have important implications for the development, production and effectiveness of drugs to treat these and other neurological conditions."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cardiff University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Muthukumaraswamy et al. Resting GABA concentration predicts peak gamma frequency and fMRI amplitude in response to visual stimulation in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0900728106

Cite This Page:

Cardiff University. "'Singing Brain' Offers Epilepsy And Schizophrenia Clues." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519104109.htm>.
Cardiff University. (2009, May 19). 'Singing Brain' Offers Epilepsy And Schizophrenia Clues. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519104109.htm
Cardiff University. "'Singing Brain' Offers Epilepsy And Schizophrenia Clues." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090519104109.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study by British researchers suggests couples' sleeping positions might reflect their happiness. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. 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:
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