Tag Archives: Research

Your Eyes, Your Ears, Your Brain–Oh my!!

By: Tina C. Davidson

Brain_ears_eyes_communicationThe unearthing of previously unknown information about how our brain/body functions fascinates me.

So, I was pretty intrigued when I saw the following article title in The Atlantic by Ed Yong:

When Your Eyes Move, So Do Your Eardrums

… and no one knows why.

Well, eventually someone will try to figure out the “why,” but until then at least we know that when your eyes move, so do your eardrums. Right?

They also found that the eardrums start to wobble about 10 milliseconds before the eyes. This suggest that the ears aren’t reacting to what’s happening in the eyes. Instead, Groh says, “the brain is saying: I am about to move the eyes; ears, get ready.”

That is some pretty fast communication between the brain and the ears (0.01 seconds–wowzers–that’s like spidey-sense).

For a closer look at this study, you can check out, “The eardrums move when the eyes move: A multisensory effect on the mechanics of hearing.” (Here’s the link Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United State of America.)

I’ll leave you with this quote from The Atlantic to ponder.

“This suggests that there are no safe spaces in the brain,” Groh says. “One sensory system is influenced by another right at the point where the physical energy is first detected.”

Don’t let it keep you up at night–that part about there being “no safe places in the brain.”

We can’t always comprehend how the brain functions, but we know that the brain is pretty amazing.

Obviously, I’m a fan.

Sources:

The Atlantic

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/01/when-your-eyes-move-so-do-your-eardrums/551237/

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

http://www.pnas.org/content/115/6/E1309

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World’s First Implanted Brain Computer

By: Tina Davidson

remote-control-brain

Someone put a remote control in her brain and she can communicate?

It seems that this is more likely to happen in a sci-fi movie (or an episode of The Simpsons) than reality, but thanks to a group of researchers, this cutting edge technology is making communication possible for Hanneke De Bruijne.

De Bruijne has ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and developed locked-in-syndrome (almost all her voluntary muscles, except her eyes, are paralyzed). She can’t speak, but thanks to the help of a surgically implanted  brain computer interface (which works like a remote control), she can now type out words.

“This is the world’s first totally implanted brain-computer interface system that someone has used in her daily life with some success,” said Dr. Jonathan R. Wolpaw, the director of the National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies in Albany.

I recommend you check out Steph Yin’s entire article, “Brain Implant Eases Communication by Late-Stage A.L.S. Patient.”

Please keep up the good work, brain researchers!!

Thanks to The Tribune (sanluisobispo.com) for running the article that originally caught my attention.

Source: Steph Yin, The New York Times

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Filed under Brain Health, Uncategorized