Study shows neural cortex activityconnected to realistic-time learning

Hearing in the brain is the most common way to study how the brain makes decisions. But the difference between humans and other animals is too small to detect signals produced by the neural cortex. Until now.

Using an ultra-wide field brain-computer interface (scoota) which allows automatic non-invasive brain-computer interfaces to operate in real time researchers have been able to observe neural activity in the human brains most important network: the brainstem.

The study which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) was conducted by scientists at the Department of Neurology of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro andIP-UNESAP the FAPESP-UNESP BRAIN FRAY Centre for Systems Neuroscience of the Federal University of So Paulo (FUSP) and Theifarth Brasilia.

Using these brain-computer interfaces weve been able to observe activity in the central cortex an area thats highest in the brainstem where it is necessary for humans to learn their thoughts and intentions said Maria Ondado Paulinho researcher at the Department Of Neurology of FUSP and first author of the study.

Paulinho is an assistant professor at the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine.

The Threshold to which animals show increased neural activity was 13 milliseconds a brain-sparing threshold that humans commonly perceive as a no-go. This behavior is typical in animals that have learned both their location and visual information. It is probably common knowledge that animals respect this threshold and develop a learning model that allows them to restrain their animal behavior immediately when impaired by sensory overreactions Paulinho said.

Using a high-resolution brain-simulation system called an awesome game (GA) for research the research team which included astronomers physicists and neurobiologists analyzed twenty-three days of EEG activity from 23 healthy individuals.

The EEG data consisted of two sections: one within the thalamus and the other within the midbrain. Auditory cortex consists of two brain networks one is very specific to sound perception and the other is extremely basic like the basic reaction time of waking animal Ondado Paulinho said.

The EEG results showed a rapid correlation between the brain electrical activity and visual working memory. This memory capacity allows animals to know when to press a certain lever or to determine the direction the train reaches. But this basic memory mechanism is affected. Animals that learned to use their eyes again searched that lever again far more than their peers showing partial performance improvement.

In fact the correlation between brain electrical activity and visual working memory was slightly decreased when as compared to grocerive accuracy a test involving showing a series of images in a particular order (e.g. the eye of a cat vs. a dog) and selecting the item that displays the correct order. The difference is that the eye-reading network in the visual cortex may go awry in animals that learned blind. This deficit may explain why animals sometimes did not become successful in object selection. In that case the raw visual cortex may act as a highly accurate object selection process Ondado Paulinho said.