Brain Activity Predicts the Force of Your Actions

Summary: Researchers have discovered a link between nerve clusters in the brain and the amount of force generated by a physical action.

Source: Oxford University.

Researchers have found a link between the activity in nerve clusters in the brain and the amount of force generated in a physical action, opening the way for the development of better devices to assist paralysed patients.

A clear link between the activity in nerve clusters in the brain and the amount of force generated in a physical action has been demonstrated by Oxford University researchers, opening the way for the development of better devices to assist paralysed patients.

Coordinated patterns of electrical activity in the basal ganglia – clusters of nerve cells in the brain – were shown to predict how much force is generated in the voluntary physical actions they help control, such as making a fist or raising a leg.

Working with patients who were receiving deep brain stimulation – a surgical procedure used to treat some neurological symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as tremors or rigidity – the researchers found a link between the electrical fields generated in the nerve clusters of the basal ganglia and the gripping force the patient produced. The findings could help to explain what goes wrong in conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

The research, published in the journal eLifesciences, demonstrates that the way these activities in the basal ganglia combine to produce a physical effect can accurately be described mathematically. Progress has already been made on devices that assist paralysed patients with movement, but this new research will make it possible to produce devices that regulate the force or speed of the movements.

Image shows brain made up of lights.
Brain activity predicts the force of your actions. NeuroscienceNews.com image is adapted from the Oxford University press release.

Professor Peter Brown, from the Medical Research Council Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford, who led the research, said: ‘Tremendous strides are being made in producing brain-machine-interfaces, which have enormous medical treatment and rehabilitation potential.

‘Our results suggest how the basal ganglia help to direct parts of the brain controlling muscle responses, and how this might go wrong in Parkinson’s disease. The accuracy with which force could be predicted raises the possibility of producing high-performance control signals for brain-controlled devices, offering the fine-tuning that would be necessary for more delicate and complex tasks like picking up objects.

‘The next step will be to test how well the features that we have identified can control brain-machine-interfaces in practice, particularly in chronically paralysed patients. We will also need to test whether additional recordings from other brain sites are needed to adequately control assistive devices.’

About this neuroscience research article

Source: Oxford University
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is adapted from the Oxford University press release.
Original Research: Abstract for “Decoding gripping force based on local field potentials recorded from subthalamic nucleus in humans” by Huiling Tan, Alek Pogosyan, Keyoumars Ashkan, Alexander L Green, Tipu Aziz, Thomas Foltynie, Patricia Limousin, Ludvic Zrinzo, Marwan Hariz, and Peter Brown in eLife. Published online November4 18 2016 doi:10.7554/eLife.19089

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article

[cbtabs][cbtab title=”MLA”]Oxford University. “Brain Activiy Predicts the Force of Your Actions.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 25 November 2016.
<https://neurosciencenews.com/actions-brain-activity-5594/>.[/cbtab][cbtab title=”APA”]Oxford University. (2016, November 25). Brain Activiy Predicts the Force of Your Actions. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved November 25, 2016 from https://neurosciencenews.com/actions-brain-activity-5594/[/cbtab][cbtab title=”Chicago”]Oxford University. “Brain Activiy Predicts the Force of Your Actions.” https://neurosciencenews.com/actions-brain-activity-5594/ (accessed November 25, 2016).[/cbtab][/cbtabs]


Abstract

Decoding gripping force based on local field potentials recorded from subthalamic nucleus in humans

The basal ganglia are known to be involved in the planning, execution and control of gripping force and movement vigour. Here we aim to define the nature of the basal ganglia control signal for force and to decode gripping force based on local field potential (LFP) activities recorded from the subthalamic nucleus (STN) in patients with deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes. We found that STN LFP activities in the gamma (55-90 Hz) and beta (13-30 Hz) bands were most informative about gripping force, and that a first order dynamic linear model with these STN LFP features as inputs can be used to decode the temporal profile of gripping force. Our results enhance the understanding of how the basal ganglia control gripping force, and also suggest that deep brain LFPs could potentially be used to decode movement parameters related to force and movement vigour for the development of advanced human-machine interfaces.

“Decoding gripping force based on local field potentials recorded from subthalamic nucleus in humans” by Huiling Tan, Alek Pogosyan, Keyoumars Ashkan, Alexander L Green, Tipu Aziz, Thomas Foltynie, Patricia Limousin, Ludvic Zrinzo, Marwan Hariz, and Peter Brown in eLife. Published online November4 18 2016 doi:10.7554/eLife.19089

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