Artificial stimulation can help fight brain disorders
Scientists know that stimulating the brain via electricity or other means may help ease the symptoms of various neurological and psychiatric disorders like epilepsy and depression.
Now, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and University at Buffalo have discovered that stimulation of a single region of the brain affects the activation of other regions and large-scale activity within the brain. “We don’t have a good understanding of the effects of brain stimulation,” said first author Sarah Muldoon, assistant professor of mathematics in University at Buffalo’s college of arts and sciences. “When a clinician has a patient with a certain disorder, how can they decide which parts of the brain to stimulate? Our study is a step toward better understanding how brain connectivity can better inform these decisions,” she added. If you look at the architecture of the brain, it appears to be a network of interconnected regions that interact with each other in complicated ways. “The question we asked in this study was how much of the brain is activated by stimulating a single region. We found that some regions have the ability to steer the brain into a variety of states very easily when stimulated, while other regions have less of an effect,” explained Danielle S Bassett, associate professor of bioengineering in the University of Pennsylvania.