Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Speedier scans reveal new distinctions in resting and active brain

02.08.2013
A boost in the speed of brain scans is unveiling new insights into how brain regions work with each other in cooperative groups called networks.

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Institute of Technology and Advanced Biomedical Imaging at the University of Chieti, Italy, used the quicker scans to track brain activity in volunteers at rest and while they watched a movie.

“Brain activity occurs in waves that repeat as slowly as once every 10 seconds or as rapidly as once every 50 milliseconds,” said senior researcher Maurizio Corbetta, MD, the Norman J. Stupp Professor of Neurology. “This is our first look at these networks where we could sample activity every 50 milliseconds, as well as track slower activity fluctuations that are more similar to those observed with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). This analysis performed at rest and while watching a movie provides some interesting and novel insights into how these networks are configured in resting and active brains.”

Understanding how brain networks function is important for better diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries, according to Corbetta.

The study appears online in Neuron.

Researchers know of several resting-state brain networks, which are groups of different brain regions whose activity levels rise and fall in sync when the brain is at rest. Scientists used fMRI to locate and characterize these networks, but the relative slowness of this approach limited their observations to activity that changes every 10 seconds or so. A surprising result from fMRI was that the spatial pattern of activity (or topography) of these brain networks is similar at rest and during tasks.

In contrast, a faster technology called magnetoencephalography (MEG) can detect activity at the millisecond level, letting scientists examine waves of activity in frequencies from slow (0.1-4 cycles per second) to fast (greater than 50 cycles per second).

“Interestingly, even when we looked at much higher temporal resolution, brain networks appear to fluctuate on a relatively slow time scale,” said first author Viviana Betti, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Chieti. “However, when the subjects went from resting to watching a movie, the networks appeared to shift the frequency channels in which they operate, suggesting that the brain uses different frequencies for rest and task, much like a radio.”

In the study, the scientists asked one group of volunteers to either rest or watch the movie during brain scans. A second group was asked to watch the movie and look for event boundaries, moments when the plot or characters or other elements of the story changed. They pushed a button when they noticed these changes.

As in previous studies, most subjects recognized similar event boundaries in the movie. The MEG scans showed that the communication between regions in the visual cortex was altered near the movie boundaries, especially in networks in the visual cortex.

“This gives us a hint of how cognitive activity dynamically changes the resting-state networks,” Corbetta said. “Activity locks and unlocks in these networks depending on how the task unfolds. Future studies will need to track resting-state networks in different tasks to see how correlated activity is dynamically coordinated across the brain.”

This research was funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme Grant Agreement HEALTH-F2-2008-200728 (BrainSynch) and by the Human Connectome Project (1U54MH091657-01). V.B. was additionally supported by a fellowship from the University of Chieti. M.C. was supported by R01 MH096482-01 (NIMH) and 5R01HD061117-08 (NICHD).

Betti V, Della Penna S, de Pasquale F, Mantini D, Marzetti L, Romani GL, Corbetta M. Natural Scenes Viewing Alters the Dynamics of Functional Connectivity in the Human Brain. Neuron, published online.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Michael C. Purdy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht True to type: From human biopsy to complex gut physiology on a chip
14.02.2018 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht The Scanpy software processes huge amounts of single-cell data
12.02.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Japanese researchers develop ultrathin, highly elastic skin display

19.02.2018 | Information Technology

Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?

19.02.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Studying mitosis' structure to understand the inside of cancer cells

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>