« BBC: Painting the Weather | Main | Liquid Lens ...! »

December 06, 2004

Scientists track footprints of thoughts

Australian scientists have discovered a way to track the electronic footpath of a single thought travelling through the human brain.

The discovery has implications for everything from education to planning the safest way to undertake brain surgery.

The latest developments in scanning techniques allow brain experts to track responses in the brain from particular movements and thoughts, in real time.

"If we ask them to read a sentence we can actually look at them processing a single sentence. In other words we can look at the footprint of a single thought," Professor Keith Thulborn, from Chicago's Centre for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, said.

The technique can be used to monitor how stroke patients are responding to rehabiltation and how well children are learning new concepts.

"This gives you great control over how to plan the intervention and how you can make it most advantageous to the subject to acheive their full potential as quickly as possible."

With this technology doctors can tell precisely what is happening during epileptic seizures.

"It can lead to ideas for new treatments and even the possibility of a surgical cure," Professor Graeme Jackson, from Melbourne's Brain Research Institite, said.

Researchers say the technique can be used to help surgeons map out which parts of the brain to avoid during operations.

"With functional MRI, we can see where their language is and we can see where their motor function is and if we are doing surgery, we can keep well away from that," Professor Jackson said.

So far the new scanning technique is only available in Victoria, but doctors believe it will be widely available within five years.

December 6, 2004 in Tech/Science | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Scientists track footprints of thoughts:


This is fascinating. Thanks.

Posted by: Audrey | Dec 7, 2004 10:10:16 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.