May 24, 2012 8:38
Moscow recently hosted an international symposium on neuroimaging — a technique which allows to "see" the brain. Scientists have talked about the fact that this technique makes it possible not only to guess the thoughts and "reconstruct" dreams, but finally understand how learning takes place and memory. And also find out how people make decisions.
From the middle of the last century as psychology and neuroscience have made many breakthroughs in the study of the nervous system of living beings in general and humanity in particular. However, paradoxically, the gap between these two disciplines, formed in the XIX century, has not disappeared, but rather widened.
For example, psychologists are well studied human behavior, however — only at the level of observation wards. That is, they only saw the results of people's reactions to irritants, but could not say anything about the biological mechanisms of these reactions are formed. But neuroscientists, by contrast, have learned a lot about the functioning of nerve cells and the formation of the stable chains. But exactly how they studied the activity of neurons leads to complex forms of behavior that are hundreds of times per day exhibited by representatives of reasonable humanity, they could not tell.
The result was a very funny picture: imagine that we know how fast the car can go, as well as present, from what part is the engine, but at the same time, we have no idea how it works! And this failure has long been filled almost nothing. Even create the impression that psychology has evolved in a different direction, and neurophysiology — in part, to come together and they have not even tried. Well, and this, in turn, gave many reasons for any pseudoscientific speculation about what, say, the phenomenon of the human mind is fundamentally unknowable.
However, it seems all the charlatans who have long at all corners shouting about the fact that science is powerless to know all the secrets of the human mind, it is time to bite his tongue. The fact that the technique is able to bridge the gap between neurophysiology and psychology, has already been established. And it's called neuroimaging. Thanks to her, the scientists the opportunity to monitor the activity of specific groups of neurons in the study of certain behavioral responses. However, neuroimaging can do even more — including the fact that it now seems miracles.
It should be noted that in our country studies using the above method is more recent. In 2008, funding was obtained for the organization of scientific and purchase the basic device, without which such work is simply impossible — magnetic encephalography. In spring 2010, the preparatory phase was finally completed, and was established in Moscow Center Neurocognitive Research at MGPPU. After two years have been interesting, and at the same time very fruitful research, of which the center staff told a press conference held on May 22, 2012 at the International Symposium on neuroimaging.
Those present at the conference experts reiterated that these studies have been made possible only thanks to the emergence of a unique device — magnetic encephalography. It is a device that can measure the magnetic fields generated by the vigorous activity of nerve cells. The question of "Pravdy.Ru" of what the performance of this device different from his "namesake", which measures the electrical activity of neurons, head of neurocognitive research MGPPU, Sc.D. Tatiana Stroganoff said:
"The researchers are not interested in the distribution of activity, whether it is electric or magnetic, that, in general, the two sides of the same process on the surface of the scalp skull. They are interested in identifying the sources of this activity. But this means that every time you measure the activity on the surface, it should solve the inverse problem — that is, to understand exactly what the sources inside the brain giving rise to these changes in the field. And by experiment, it was found that fixing the magnetic field changes can solve the inverse problem is much better and more accurate than the data on changes in the electric field. "
It should be noted that MEG does not replace or duplicate all known magnetic resonance imaging. The fact is that with the help of MRI data can be obtained on the fine anatomy of the brain structures, but not how they operate. And the use of MEG allows scientists to see the activity of nerve cells, and in real time (MRT can also record activity, but with some delay). Simply put, using MRI to study the structure of different parts of the brain, and with MEG — their immediate work.
Using a new technique, the researchers were able to find many interesnyhveschey.Naprimer, it was found that the idea that man has always consciously takes a decision is somewhat incorrect. Using MEG found that for any decision activates many neural chains whose activity provides not conscious and unconscious mental activity (the one that man can not control.) In other words, our brain itself actively encourages us to what to choose at the moment.
See information about the leading researcher of the psychology department at the University of Basel (Switzerland), Vasily A. Klyucharev: "We conducted a standard experiment called" injustice "- when one of the participants proposed to divide between him and a partner a sum of money, for example, one hundred dollars. In that case, if it divides them unjustly — for example, ninety leaves themselves, and gives ten partner, the last coming in to frustration and almost always refuses the offered amount.
Now, we find out which group of "subconscious" of neurons activated before making this decision. After that we have affected the magnetic field on these cells. And get an interesting phenomenon — as a result of such exposure "offended" party experiment changed his mind and took the offered him ten dollars. Although opinions about the partner is not changed. This shows that in fact any decision does not depend solely on the willpower of the individual — it subject to a number of factors, activating the subconscious mind. "
Vassily A. noted that by identifying the activity of neurons in the visualization of an image, you can later read a person's thoughts and even try to reconstruct his dreams. And Tatiana Stroganoff added that such studies are not for entertainment experimenters — they help determine how the human long-term memory. It has long been known that much of the information is assimilated by man during sleep. Consequently, the "reading" dreams, scientists understand exactly how is storing this information.
Tatiana also noted that it is through neuroimaging can solve the riddle of how a person learns to speak (which, as we recall, was unable to do even the founder of the doctrine of the second signaling system Academician Pavlov). She gave an example: when a child commits a movement (eg, jumps) and the area of the brain that is responsible for this action, it becomes active, the parent is called a word that indicates the action (that is to say "jump, dear") is raised the corresponding area of the brain responsible for the perception of words. In the future, between the areas you choose to communicate, and thus the brain remembers what this action corresponds to the word "jump." Therefore, in what the parent by saying the word, and the excitation of the first zone immediately activates the second — making the child bounce.
So, as you can see, using neuroimaging can solve a lot of interesting puzzles: how learning occurs as a person makes a choice, what is the mechanism of memory, and. etc. However, in addition to basic science, MEG can be used to solve practical problems — for example, with its help it is possible to conduct diagnostic testing of people with epilepsy, autism, Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. The fact that this method is able to identify areas of the brain that work "not wrong" is much more accurate than traditional methods.
Needless to say, this method does give scientists a hands the key to solving many problems. And after such an impressive demonstration of the achievements is a shame that our government shows so little attention to those who are engaged in similar research. From the beginning, and still exists due to the MEG laboratory foreign grants. According to Tatyana Alexandrovna Stroganoff, the center staff tried several times to get funding from the Russian government, but has a very, very unsuccessfully. But the funds allocated to foreign patrons will soon run out of …
But, despite this, experts in neuroimaging still optimistic — after all they have done a lot in two years and are going to do more. As the curtain conference, journalists could not even see where the person is … his soul.
Head of the Clinic of radiological diagnostics Institute of Emergency Children's Surgery and Traumatology MD TA Ahadov said that using MEG is already figured out. The soul is in the frontal lobes of the brain, and the men — on the right and women — on the left! While such a statement is, of course, is nothing like a joke, but who knows — maybe the way it is?