Psychology & Psychiatry

Studies of brain activity aren't as useful as scientists thought

Hundreds of published studies over the last decade have claimed it's possible to predict an individual's patterns of thoughts and feelings by scanning their brain in an MRI machine as they perform some mental tasks.

Neuroscience

A new optical system shows how decisions light up the brain

When we make even simple decisions about how to interact with the world, we rely on computations performed by networks of neurons that span our brains. But what exactly are these neural networks computing?

Medical research

Ultra-thin fibres designed to protect nerves after brain surgery

Brain surgery poses a major threat to nerve cells. Even slight injuries can kill the sensitive cells. The drug nimodipine could help prevent this. It is currently being used to treat cerebral haemorrhages. The drug relaxes ...

Neuroscience

The dreaming brain tunes out the outside world

Scientists from the CNRS and the ENS-PSL in France and Monash University in Australia have shown that the brain suppresses information from the outside world, such as the sound of a conversation, during the sleep phase linked ...

Neuroscience

Army researchers develop new ways to nudge the brain

For Army scientists, the goal of neuroscience research is pursuing the inner workings of the human brain to advance scientific understanding and improve Soldier performance.

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Electroencephalography

Electroencephalography (EEG) is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp produced by the firing of neurons within the brain. In clinical contexts, EEG refers to the recording of the brain's spontaneous electrical activity over a short period of time, usually 20–40 minutes, as recorded from multiple electrodes placed on the scalp. In neurology, the main diagnostic application of EEG is in the case of epilepsy, as epileptic activity can create clear abnormalities on a standard EEG study. A secondary clinical use of EEG is in the diagnosis of coma and encephalopathies. EEG used to be a first-line method for the diagnosis of tumors, stroke and other focal brain disorders, but this use has decreased with the advent of anatomical imaging techniques such as MRI and CT.

Derivatives of the EEG technique include evoked potentials (EP), which involves averaging the EEG activity time-locked to the presentation of a stimulus of some sort (visual, somatosensory, or auditory). Event-related potentials refer to averaged EEG responses that are time-locked to more complex processing of stimuli; this technique is used in cognitive science, cognitive psychology, and psychophysiological research.

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