Anyone interested in understanding more about that most fascinating topic-the human brain, should check out the new research by Detroit’s Wayne State University researcher Vaibhav Diwadkar, which suggests that the brain never really is at rest.
Using an fMRI, subjects were asked to perform a simple behavior-tapping their finger when they saw a visual cue. So, the researcher was able to distinguish brain activity while tapping, versus while the subject was not tapping.
The team then modeled the network signals between parts of the brain that execute motor functions and one that provided control.
In an interesting twist, when the subject’s brain was at rest- the network activity actually increased!
According to professor Diwadkar, this has long been suspected, that the brain is never truly at rest. Why? Because it always might have to be ready to act.
This is important because it highlights normal brain function, but also suggests how brain networks might function in individuals that experience severe episodes of brain activity such as those individuals suffering with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Schizophrenia.
Questions for Discussion
- What is a an fMRI?
- How does it actually work?
- How did Dr. Diwadker conduct the study?
- How did Dr. Diwadker and his team create the models to understand brain behavior?
- Why do we sometimes perceive that our brain is “at rest” even when it might not be?
- How could Dr. Diwadker and the research team use this information to help individuals suffering from schizophrenia or obsessive compulsive disorder?
- What limitations are there with this study?
For more information, please see the article by Julie O’Connor
And a link to the PLOSone primary source material.