Health knowledge made personal
Join this community!
› Share page:
Search posts:

Novel Brain-Machine Interface Explores the Human Attention Span

Posted Nov 10 2010 8:31pm

Using a novel brain-machine interface linking neurons with a visual display, researchers at California Institute of Technology (California, USA) reveal how humans pay attention to certain information while ignoring other input.  Moran Cerf and colleagues studied neurons firing in live human brains, connecting patients with intractable epilepsy seizures to electrodes, to monitor activity in the brain’s temporal lobe. They invited the patients to play a game in which they would control computer images by focusing their attention.  With 12 volunteers, the researchers first established links between specific neurons and familiar images, by showing people pictures and noting which specific neurons became active. Once they identified at least four images that activated specific neurons, the researchers challenged the patients by showing a target image, then asked the patient to pay attention to the target image and faded-out the competing image. The team designed an automated system to relay neuron impulses to a computer controlling the images, the first of its kind. Hooked up to the machine, patients were able to enhance the target image onscreen in real time simply by directing their thoughts. In 69% of the images, patients successfully enhanced the target picture, fading out the competing image.  Supporting the prevailing model of how selective attention works in the brain, the researchers found that when attention is focused, the neuron related to a target image was firing and the neuron associated with the competing image was inhibited -- a mechanism known as biased competition.

Moran Cerf, Nikhil Thiruvengadam, Florian Mormann, Alexander Kraskov, Rodrigo Quian Quiroga, Christof Koch, Itzhak Fried.  “On-line, voluntary control of human temporal lobe neurons.”  Nature 467, 1104-1108, 27 October 2010; doi:10.1038/nature09510.

People who are physically fit and active contract fewer and milder colds.
Team utilizes a new brain-machine interface to reveal how humans prioritize information, potentially offering assistance to people with neurological impairment
Fragranced consumer products, such as air fresheners, laundry supplies, personal care products, and cleaners, may contain undisclosed toxins.
Curcumin, the chemical in curry that lends the spice its distinctive flavor, may aid in treating or preventing fatty liver disease.
Daily supplementation of tocotrienols, a form of Vitamin E, aids the immune response.
Danish team reports that an estimated 23% of cancer cases may be preventable by engaging five key diet and lifestyle recommendations.
Heavy smoking in midlife is associated with a 156% increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and a 172% increased risk of developing vascular dementia.
Smiling Boomers
Elevated levels of a hormone produced in the kidneys, erythropoietin, are linked to increased mortality.
Cases of gum disease, most notably periodontis, may be reduced by moderate dietary intakes of the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids DHA and EPA

View Current Anti-Aging Newsletter!
Second Opinion with Dr. Ron Klatz Solutions to improve your life, and your lifespan too.
radio tower Dr. Ronald Klatz, A4M physician founder, interviews the world’s top anti-aging experts in health, longevity, brain fitness, aesthetic beauty, and more. Get the answers to look and feel twenty years younger today.
Tune in to Second Opinion with Dr. Ronald Klatz. »
U.S. Events
Anti-Aging Events
International Events
Post a comment
Write a comment: