Brain Research – Language of the Brain

Brain Research The Language of the Brain

Ambience: Computerized Clicks – brain activity analog
Friedlander: What you’re hearing right now is a series of clicks, that have stored as digital pulses in the memory of a computer. Each of those clicks represents a point in time when an electrical stimulus is delivered to a nerve cell.

Scientists who study the brain have found out that it’s possible to stimulate areas of the brain into becoming more or less active. This could be useful in many ways, including treating brain disorders. But in order to most effectively treat those disorders, we’ll first have to learn the language of the brain. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Michael Friedlander is Executive Director of the Virginia Tech Carillion Research Institute.

Friedlander: So if you simply say the treatment for this disease or the way to change this behavior is to stimulate one area of the brain, you’re potentially missing out on the nuances of the language of how one part of the brain talks to another part.

Every move we make, all our thoughts, our emotions, our senses they’re all governed in some way by the electro-chemical circuitry of the brain. The key to learning the language of the brain seems to lie in understanding the patterns of activity that occur in these circuits.

Friedlander: We record the electrical activity from groups of neurons in the living brain. We take the patterns we’ve recorded from real living brains and we put those in our computer and we study them and try to determine which ones are likely to be the most effective. And we play them back through something called a stimulator, back into the brain.

Understanding the patterns of activity, the language of the brain, will enable scientists to more effectively treat patients with traumatic injuries and debilitating brain disorders like Parkinsons Disease. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation, I’m Jim Metzner.

Brain Research - Language of the Brain

In order to most effectively treat disorders like Parkinsons Disease, we first have to learn the language of the brain.
Air Date:04/18/2016
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Transcript:

Brain Research The Language of the Brain

Ambience: Computerized Clicks - brain activity analog
Friedlander: What you're hearing right now is a series of clicks, that have stored as digital pulses in the memory of a computer. Each of those clicks represents a point in time when an electrical stimulus is delivered to a nerve cell.

Scientists who study the brain have found out that it's possible to stimulate areas of the brain into becoming more or less active. This could be useful in many ways, including treating brain disorders. But in order to most effectively treat those disorders, we'll first have to learn the language of the brain. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Michael Friedlander is Executive Director of the Virginia Tech Carillion Research Institute.

Friedlander: So if you simply say the treatment for this disease or the way to change this behavior is to stimulate one area of the brain, you're potentially missing out on the nuances of the language of how one part of the brain talks to another part.

Every move we make, all our thoughts, our emotions, our senses they're all governed in some way by the electro-chemical circuitry of the brain. The key to learning the language of the brain seems to lie in understanding the patterns of activity that occur in these circuits.

Friedlander: We record the electrical activity from groups of neurons in the living brain. We take the patterns we've recorded from real living brains and we put those in our computer and we study them and try to determine which ones are likely to be the most effective. And we play them back through something called a stimulator, back into the brain.

Understanding the patterns of activity, the language of the brain, will enable scientists to more effectively treat patients with traumatic injuries and debilitating brain disorders like Parkinsons Disease. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation, I'm Jim Metzner.