Thursday, January 27, 2005

Brain Avalanches May Improve Memory

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – It might sound mind boggling, but the road to a better memory might be through a “brain avalanche.”

Last year, researchers at Indiana University put slices of rat brain tissue on an electrical grid and watched as one portion was stimulated. The result was that other pieces of the tissue began reacting, in an avalanche style.

Now, John Beggs, a biophysicist who helped perform the test, says they’ve put the data into a computer simulation and found that the stimulation of the tissue mimicked something called the Power Law – the same mathematical formula that explains the properties of avalanches and earthquakes in magnitude and frequency.

Beggs says the next stage is to find out if the same brain avalanches occur in humans, which is important because when a brain avalanche occurs, it’s the ideal state for storing memory patterns.

More research is needed, but Beggs speculates that it might be possible some day to go to a doctor who’ll strap electrodes to your brain, monitor you and nudge your brain with a neuro- chemical to put it in this ideal avalanche state.

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