Tuesday, July 23

Signals with a Spiral Shape for Organizing Brain Activity Discovered 2023

University of Sydney and Fudan University researchers found human brain impulses that spontaneously form spirals over the outer layer of neural tissue.

The research, published today in Nature Human Behaviour, suggests that these ubiquitous spirals, brain signals found on the cortex during resting and cognitive states, organize brain activity and cognitive processing.

Senior author Associate Professor Pulin Gong from the School of Physics in the Faculty of Science said the finding might enhance powerful computing devices inspired by the inner workings of the human brain.

The discovery expands our understanding of the brain and its basic functioning. Examining their involvement might help medical researchers comprehend brain illnesses like dementia.

“Our study suggests that gaining insights into how the spirals are related to cognitive processing could significantly enhance our understanding of the dynamics and functions of the brain,” stated Physics Complex Systems research group member Associate Professor Gong.

“Spiral patterns move across the brain’s surface around phase singularities.

“Like vortices in turbulence, spirals interact intricately, organizing the brain’s complex activities.

“The intricate interactions among multiple co-existing spirals could allow neural computations to be distributed and parallel, leading to remarkable computational efficiency.”

The School of Physics’ PhD student Yiben Xu said the spirals’ position on the cortex might allow them to connect brain activity in separate networks. Many spirals cover numerous networks.

The cerebral cortex, the outermost layer of the brain, controls sophisticated cognitive activities including perception, memory, attention, language, and awareness.

Mr. Xu noted that brain spirals commonly appear at brain functional network borders.

They coordinate activity amongst networks by rotating.

We found that modifying their rotational orientations allows these interacting brain spirals to reconfigure brain activity during natural language processing and working memory tasks.

The scientists employed turbulence wave pattern analysis to analyze 100 young people’ functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brain data.

Neuroscience has studied brain function through neuron connections. To better comprehend the brain, research is studying broader systems.

“By unravelling the mysteries of brain activity and uncovering the mechanisms governing its coordination, we are closer to unlocking the full potential of understanding cognition and brain function,” Associate Professor Gong said.

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