The National Institutes of Health(NIH) research proved that the mind which is our Thought can manipulate digital images.
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New research promoted the NIH Shows that any complex visual images can be manipulated on a computer screen with the use of only the mind. The study that was published in Nature found that the brains of the research subjects were connected to a computer which displayed two merged images which forced the computer to discard one of the images and display the other image. Each of the subject’s brain transmitted a signal to the computer which was just derived from a handful of brain cells.
The study’s lead author, Itzhak Fried, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of neurosurgery at the University of California, Los Angeles said, “The subjects used their thoughts to override the images which are seen on the computer screen”. In part, the study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorder and Stroke(NINDS). Both are part of NIH.
The Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) is a device through which computer and other devices can be controlled with the thoughts of people. The study reflects progress in the development of Brain-Computer Interfaces. The BCIs promised to help the paralyzed individuals to interact and control prosthetic limbs. This BCI Technology was mostly used as a tool for understanding how the processing of the information takes place by the brain and sharpening the thoughts and decisions by the combined activity of single brain cell.
Debra Babcock, M.D., Ph.D., a program director at NINDS said, “This is a novel and graceful use of a Brain-Computer Interface to explore how the brain is directing attention and making choices”.
A computer was informed to focus on Michael or Marilyn by the subjects mentally.
A man was shown about pictures of Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe while thinking in the study by Cerf et al.in on October 28, 2010. There was an involvement of 12 people with epilepsy in the study. Their brains were implanted with fine wires for recording seizure activity. The areas of the brains which are responsible for seizure are located by these recordings. The wires are inserted in the medial temporal lobe, a brain region which is useful for memory and able to recognize complex images including faces.
When the recordings were transmitted from their brains to a computer, the research subjects looked like two pictures were superimposed on the computer screen, in which each of the pictures was showing a famous place, thing, person or animal. They were instructed to choose one image as a target and also to focus their thoughts on it until that image was fully seen and the other image was faded away. Every one-tenth of one second, the monitor was updated depending on the input from the brain recordings.
The subjects attempted this game nearly to a total of 900 times as a group, and the monitor was forced to display the target image in 70 percent of these attempts. Subjects tend to learn the task as quickly as they could, and were frequently successful on the first try.
The input given to the computer and the brain recordings were dependent on the activity of four cells in the temporal lobe. Some researchers had proved that individual cells in the temporal lobe of the brain answer as the given priority in that part of the brain. The priority – firing impulses at a higher rate to specific images. For example, one of the cells in the temporal lobe may respond when it views a picture of Michael Jackson whereas the other may respond to Marilyn Monroe where both of them are the faces among the celebrity faces that are used in the study.
Firstly, Dr. Fried’s team could be able to identify four brain cells with preferences for celebrities or familiar place, things or animals and then the recording electrodes to those cells were targeted. The team found that when the image-switching game was being played by the subjects, their success appeared to depend on their ability to power up the cells which preferred the target image and suppress the cells which preferred the non-target image.
Dr. Babcock said, “In this study, the remarkable aspects are that we can concentrate our attention on making a choice by modulating a few brain cells and that we can learn to control those cells very quickly”.
Prior studies on BCIs have proved that the performance of other tasks is also possible, for controlling a computer cursor, with just a few brain cells. But, here the task was more complicated and it may have been expected to involve legions of cells in diverse brain areas needed for vision, attention, memory and in decision-making.
The nation’s leading fund provider of research on the brain and nervous system is NINDS (www.ninds.nih.gov). The mission of NINDS is to bring down the burden of neurological disease – a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by all the people over the world.
The mission of the NIMH (www.nimh.nih.gov) is to transfer the understanding and treatment of mental sicknesses via basic and clinical research, paving the way to prevent, recover and cure.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH), The Nation’s Medical Research Agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency which conducts and supports the basic, clinical and the translational medical research, and it also investigates the causes and their treatments and also cures for both common and rare diseases for which a human Thought-pad is necessary. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.