Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Multiple thought channels may help brain avoid traffic jams

Date:
May 6, 2012
Source:
Washington University School of Medicine
Summary:
Brain networks may avoid traffic jams at their busiest intersections by communicating on different frequencies, researchers have learned.

Brain networks may avoid traffic jams at their busiest intersections by communicating on different frequencies, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the University Medical Center at Hamburg-Eppendorf and the University of Tübingen have learned.

Related Articles


"Many neurological and psychiatric conditions are likely to involve problems with signaling in brain networks," says co-author Maurizio Corbetta, MD, the Norman J. Stupp Professor of Neurology at Washington University. "Examining the temporal structure of brain activity from this perspective may be especially helpful in understanding psychiatric conditions like depression and schizophrenia, where structural markers are scarce."

The research will be published May 6 in Nature Neuroscience.

Scientists usually study brain networks -- areas of the brain that regularly work together -- using magnetic resonance imaging, which tracks blood flow. They assume that an increase in blood flow to part of the brain indicates increased activity in the brain cells of that region.

"Magnetic resonance imaging is a useful tool, but it does have limitations," Corbetta says. "It only allows us to track brain cell activity indirectly, and it is unable to track activity that occurs at frequencies greater than 0.1 hertz, or once every 10 seconds. We know that some signals in the brain can cycle as high as 500 hertz, or 500 times per second."

For the new study, conducted at the University Medical Center at Hamburg-Eppendorf, the researchers used a technique called magnetoencephalography (MEG) to analyze brain activity in 43 healthy volunteers. MEG detects very small changes in magnetic fields in the brain that are caused by many cells being active at once. It can detect these signals at rates up to 100 hertz.

"We found that different brain networks ticked at different frequencies, like clocks ticking at different speeds," says lead author Joerg Hipp, PhD, of the University Medical Center at Hamburg-Eppendorf and the University of Tübingen, both in Germany.

For example, networks that included the hippocampus, a brain area critical for memory formation, tended to be active at frequencies around 5 hertz. Networks constituting areas involved in the senses and movement were active between 32 hertz and 45 hertz. Many other brain networks were active at frequencies between eight and 32 hertz. These "time-dependent" networks resemble different airline route maps, overlapping but each ticking at a different rate.

"There have been a number of fMRI studies of depression and schizophrenia showing 'spatial' changes in the organization of brain networks," Corbettta says. "MEG studies provide a window into a much richer 'temporal' structure. In the future, this might offer new diagnostic tests or ways to monitor the efficacy of interventions in these debilitating mental conditions."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Joerg F Hipp, David J Hawellek, Maurizio Corbetta, Markus Siegel, Andreas K Engel. Large-scale cortical correlation structure of spontaneous oscillatory activity. Nature Neuroscience, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nn.3101

Cite This Page:

Washington University School of Medicine. "Multiple thought channels may help brain avoid traffic jams." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120506160124.htm>.
Washington University School of Medicine. (2012, May 6). Multiple thought channels may help brain avoid traffic jams. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120506160124.htm
Washington University School of Medicine. "Multiple thought channels may help brain avoid traffic jams." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120506160124.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) — WHO cites four studies that say Ebola can still be detected in semen up to 82 days after the onset of symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
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