It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Issued: Thu, 10 Feb 2011 17:00:00 GMT Researchers at the University of Glasgow and University College London (UCL) have, for the first time, enhanced visual perception through rhythmic transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the brain. The team led by Dr Gregor Thut in the Centre for Neuroimaging at the Institute of Psychology & Neurosciences at Glasgow together with colleagues at UCL have shown that rTMS boosts the perception of specific visual stimuli among competing information, when applied at specific frequencies. All brain processes, including vision, hearing and memory, produce electrical signals – or brainwaves – with specific frequencies.
rTMS involves generating weak electrical currents across the head which can be used to study brain function and connections by generating activity in specific areas.
Previous research using magnetoencephalography (MEG) was consulted to identify the frequency of electrical signals used in visual perception which allowed the scientists to generate rTMS patterns of the same frequency to boost the natural function.
The results showed that giving bursts of rTMS at a beta-frequency (20 Hertz) to the right parietal lobe of the brain – an area known for its implication in visual selection –enhanced local visual processing resulting in better identification of the target letter, while stimulation at theta-frequency (5 Hertz) enhanced global visual processing. Dr Thut said: “We enhance perception using rTMS at biologically relevant frequencies. By showing that perception is shaped through frequency-specific intervention, we are getting closer to understand what is driving our perception”. “Frequency-specific interventions have numerous potential applications such as improving memory and sleep.”
The research was funded by the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council and the Wellcome Trust and is published in the latest edition of Current Biology.