Friday, December 17, 2010

Neuroimaging and Stimulating Human Brain Remodeling

A broadcast of a recent presentation at the National Institutes of Health:

Watch the presentation

Air date: Monday, November 29, 2010, 12:00:00 PM
Time displayed is Eastern Time, Washington DC Local
Category: Neuroscience
Description: Neuroscience Seminar Series

Animal studies show that the adult brain shows remarkable plasticity in response to learning or recovery from injury. Non-invasive brain imaging techniques can be used to detect systems-level structural and functional plasticity in the human brain. This talk will focus on how brain imaging has allowed us to monitor healthy brains learning new motor skills and to assess how damaged brains recover. For example, structural and diffusion MRI shows that learning to juggle changes not only grey matter but also white matter in healthy brains. In patients recovering after a stroke to one side of their brain, functional MRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation provide evidence for increased recruitment of areas in the healthy side of the brain. Combining structural and functional approaches allows us to demonstrate that motor practice can functionally rescue regions that are structurally compromised following damage.

New developments in brain stimulation raise exciting opportunities for manipulating brain remodelling. Using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to the motor cortex we can speed people’s learning of a new task, alter their brain chemistry, or temporarily improve hand function in stroke patients. FMRI identifies changes in cortical activity that may mediate these functional benefits. In future, imaging could be used to guide individually targeted brain stimulation to enhance recovery after damage.
Author: Heidi Johansen-Berg, Ph.D., , University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Runtime: 01:03:28

CIT File ID: 16300
CIT Live ID: 9775
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