The Brain’s ‘Background Noise’ May Be Meaningful After All

In a sleep In January 2020, the research symposium, Janna Lendner, presented the conclusion that the threshold signals between awakening and unconsciousness indicate a way to look at people’s brain activity. For those patients who are comatose or under anesthesia, it may be all the more important that physicians make that difference correctly. However, this is difficult to do, as it is in a dreamy state of sound-rapid motion (REM) sleep, as their brain makes brain waves familiar as they wake up.

Lander argued, however, that the answer lies not in regular brain waves, but in one aspect of neural activity that scientists can usually ignore: irregular background noise.

Some researchers looked incredulous. “He said, ‘So, you are telling me that there is, like, information in the noise?” “Said Lendner, an anesthesiology resident at University Medical Center in Tübingen, Germany, who recently completed a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley.” I said yes. One’s noise is a sign of another. ”

Lander is one of a growing number of active neuroscientists in the idea that noise in the brain’s electrical activity may capture new clues to its internal functioning. What was once seen as the neurological equivalent of annoying television static may have profound implications for studying scientists’ brains.

Skeptics told neuroscientist Bradley Votek that these noisy features of brain activity were nothing worth studying. But his study of changes in electrical noise, as previous literature on people’s age, as well as statistical trends in irregular brain activity, convinced him that they were missing something. So he worked for years to help scientists rethink data.

“It’s insufficient to go in front of a group of scientists and say, ‘Hey, I think we’re doing things wrong,” said Wytek, an associate professor of cognitive science and data science at the University of California at San. Diego. “You’ve got to give them a new tool to do things” different or better.

Bradley Voytech, an associate professor of cognitive science and data science at the University of California, San Diego, helped draw attention to the importance of aperiodic activity in the brain by developing software to study it.Photo: Jessica Wytek

In collaboration with neuroscientists at UC San Diego and Berkeley, Vitek developed software that separates regular oscillations, like alpha waves, that are studied in both sleep and waking subjects – hidden in aperiodic parts of brain activity. This gives neuroscientists a new tool to dissect both regular waves and aperiodic activity to differentiate their roles in behavior, cognition, and disease.

The way Wytech and other scientists are investigating is known by many names. Some call it “1 /”F Slope “or” scale-free activity “; Wyotec refers to it as” aperiodic signal “or” aperiodic activity “.

This is not just a trick of the mind. The patterns that Lander, Voytech, and others discover are related to a phenomenon that scientists began to note in 1925 in complex systems during the natural world and technology. The statistical structure mysteriously crops up in so many different contexts that some scientists even think that they too represent an undiscovered law of nature.

Although published studies have observed arrhythmic brain activity for more than 20 years, no one has been able to establish what this actually means. Now, however, scientists have better tools to isolate aperiodic signals in new experiments and view older data more deeply. Thanks to WiTech’s algorithm and other methods, a spate of studies published over the years have run with the idea that aperiodic activity has hidden treasures that advance the study of aging, sleep, childhood development, and more. Can.

What is aperiodic activity?

Our bodies form grooves for the heartbeat and the familiar rhythm of breaths – a constant cycle for survival. But there are equally important alcoholics in the brain that do not seem to have a pattern, and they can add new clues to deficiencies in behavior and cognition.

When a neuron sends a chemical called glutamate to another neuron, it makes the recipient more likely to fire; This scenario is called excitation. Conversely, if the neuron exits the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, the recipient neuron is less likely to fire; That is prohibition. Either has too many consequences: Stimulation gone haywire leads to seizures, while inhibition sleep and, in more extreme cases, coma.