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Thread: Brain more flexible and trainable than previously thought

  1. #1

    Brain more flexible and trainable than previously thought

    Brain more flexible and trainable than previously thought
    Published on March 4, 2012 at 11:51 PM · No Comments



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    Opening the door to the development of thought-controlled prosthetic devices to help people with spinal cord injuries, amputations and other impairments, neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Champalimaud Center for the Unknown in Portugal have demonstrated that the brain is more flexible and trainable than previously thought.

    Their new study, to be published Sunday, March 4, in the advanced online publication of the journal Nature, shows that through a process called plasticity, parts of the brain can be trained to do something it normally does not do. The same brain circuits employed in the learning of motor skills, such as riding a bike or driving a car, can be used to master purely mental tasks, even arbitrary ones.

    Over the past decade, tapping into brain waves to control disembodied objects has moved out of the realm of parlor tricks and parapsychology and into the emerging field of neuroprosthetics. This new study advances work by researchers who have been studying the brain circuits used in natural movement in order to mimic them for the development of prosthetic devices.

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    http://www.news-medical.net/news/201...y-thought.aspx

  2. #2
    Study May Have Implications in Developing Neuroprosthetics For SCI and Amputees


    According to neuroscientists, new insights into the brain’s plasticity may have implications in neuroprosthetics designed for patients with spinal cord injuries (SCIs), amputations, and other disabilities. Researchers report that the study suggests that through the plasticity, parts of the brain can potentially be trained to do something it normally does not do. A news release adds that the same brain circuits used to learn motor skills can be used to master mental tasks.

    Jose Carmena, PhD, University of California, (UC) Berkeley, associate professor of electrical engineering, cognitive science, and neuroscience, co-led the study and articulates its primary goal, “What we hope is that our new insights into the brain’s wiring will lead to a wider range of better prosthetics that feel as close to natural as possible,” Carmena says.

    Carmena also notes that the study’s findings indicate that for patients, learning to control a brain-machine interface (BMI) may feel natural as the patient is learning using the brain’s existing built-in circuits for natural motor control. “…What our study shows is that neuroprosthetic control is possible, even if physical movement is not involved,” Carmena explains.

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    http://www.rehabpub.com/news/2012-03-05_02.asp

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