Utilizing Brain Power

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					   Utilizing Brain Power
By using technologies that harness the brain power, a patient
who suffered paralysis one day be able to "think about" his legs
to move.


Researchers at the University of California and Computational
Neuroscience has developed a technology that for the first time
allow doctors and scientists to isolate and measure the non-
invasive electrical activity of the brain in people who are
moving.


This technology is a key component of a type of brain computer
interface that would allow a robotic exoskeleton controlled by a
patient's mind to move the patient's limb, said Daniel Ferris
who is a professor in the School of Kinesiology University of
Michigan and lead author of a paper describing the research.


"Of course it will not happen immediately but one step towards
a situation where it is possible is the ability to record brain
waves while somebody is moving," said Joe Gwin who is first
author of the paper and a graduate student researcher in the
School doctoral level Part of Kinesiology and Engineering
Mechanics. Similarly, as quoted from Physorg on Tuesday
(11.02.10).


With this technology, the scientists can show the parts of the
brain are activated and precisely when the parts are activated
when the subjects move in a natural environment. For example,
when we walk, the signals coming from certain parts of the
brain that serves as a message is sent from the brain to the
muscles. If scientists know where the brain impulses occur,
they can use the location information to develop a variety of
applications. Previously, scientists could only measure the
electrical activity of the brain in patients who did not move.


Ferris likens isolating the electrical activity of the brain is like
putting a microphone in the middle of a symphony to discern
only certain instruments in certain areas, for example in the
first chair oboe, or violin. Ideally in an orchestra, there are
many sources of noise in the brain that produce excessive
electrical activity, or noise. Even the electrode itself produces
noise or noise when it moves in relation to the source.
The researchers identified brain activity will be measured by
how many sensors attach to the subject is walking or running
on a treadmill. Then they used magnetic resonance imaging to
determine the head of the electrical activity of the brain where
it originates. In this way, scientists can localize brain activity
sources who want to know and ignore another activity if it does
not originate in the brain.


Ferris also has a position in biomedical engineering said there
were a bunch of reasons scientists can perform this type of
measurement now when it is not possible a few years ago.
Colleagues at the Swartz Center for Computational
Neuroscience finding computational tools to perform non-
invasive measurements in people, and without the tool of
measurement to be something impossible to do. Both groups of
researchers then sought ahead and try those measurements on
subjects who are walking or running.


Anyway, the electrode is more sensitive and has better signal to
noise ratio, he said.


The military is also interested in the type of technology that can
be used to optimize the performance of the army in a way to
monitor the brain activity of the soldiers in the field to know
when soldiers are in peak performance. The technology could
also help the military understand how information can be
provided and how best handled by the soldiers.


In fact, any industry or organization interested in understanding
how the brain and body interact, can benefit by knowing how
the brain functions during the specified activity.


"We can imagine the brains of patients with different types of
neurological disorders, and we might be able to target
rehabilitation to a group of patients who show symptoms of the
same," said Gwin. "If we can imagine the brain is currently
undergoing some rehabilitation, we can design treatments are
better."

				
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