Neuroscientists from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako, and New York University have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the organization of neurons in the primary visual cortex (V1) of humans and establish that the temporal frequency of a stimulus activates specific V1 neurons.
The V1 is an area at the back of the brain where the first stage of visual processing takes place. Although this is one of the most heavily studied parts of the visual cortex, little is known about how its neurons are arranged. In general, neurons with similar selectivity for visual stimuli cluster together. For example, V1 neurons that process stimuli from each eye are grouped into pillars, called ocular dominance columns.
V1 neurons are highly sensitive to the contrast, orientation, and spatio-temporal frequency of a visual stimulus. Temporal frequency is an important determinant of how moving images are processed by the brain and is a measure of how often an image appears in the visual field. This attribute is also of particular interest to RIKEN researcher Pei Sun and his team, headed by Keiji Tanaka and Kang Cheng, who have determined that images appearing less frequently over time are handled by neurons that arrange themselves differently to those that are activated by more frequently appearing images.
The fMRI technique allows the function and anatomical structure of the brain to be studied live and works by measuring the level of oxygen in the blood immediately after a neuron has been active, giving a pattern of which neurons have been triggered by a stimulus.
The team has shown that separate domains in human V1 respond preferentially to low- and high-temporal frequencies. The former appear to be continuous, whereas the latter seem to be more like isolated islands with no particular orientation (Fig. 1).
This study provides direct physiological evidence that different temporal frequencies are preferentially processed by spatially segregated streams in human V1. The work recently published in Nature Neuroscience (1) is the first to show neuronal organization specific to temporal frequency in primate V1.
Evidence of these separate neural regions will assist further study into human perception of moving images and help to develop a map of the neural architecture of the brain. Pei plans to develop the fMRI technique as “it could link animal and human behavioral studies, giving a better picture of how information is processed by the brain,” he says.
1. Sun, P., Ueno, K., Waggoner, R.A., Gardner, J.L., Tanaka, K. & Cheng, K. A temporal frequency-dependent functional architecture in human V1 revealed by high-resolution fMRI. Nature Neuroscience 10, 1404–1406 (2007).
Saeko Okada | ResearchSEA
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy