Thursday, September 04, 2014

Fascinating research about learning brains

We know so little about the human brain. And for a lot of reasons - including improving stroke recovery results - this knowledge is so important.

Interesting item about research - admittedly, just monkeys - in which scientists are plugging into a learning brain:
“We looked into the brain and may have seen why it’s so hard to think outside the box,” said Aaron Batista, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh and a senior author of the study published in Nature, with Byron Yu, Ph.D., assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.
The human brain contains nearly 86 billion neurons, which communicate through intricate networks of connections. Understanding how they work together during learning can be challenging. Dr. Batista and his colleagues combined two innovative technologies, brain-computer interfaces and machine learning, to study patterns of activity among neurons in monkey brains as the animals learned to use their thoughts to move a computer cursor.
“This is a fundamental advance in understanding the neurobiological patterns that underlie the learning process,” said Theresa Cruz, Ph.D., a program official at the National Center for Medical Rehabilitations Research at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). “The findings may eventually lead to new treatments for stroke as well as other neurological disorders.”
As we all know, monkeys aren't people. However, this kind of research might well lead to advances. Worthy of watching.

1 comment:

J.L. Murphey said...

Very interesting.