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Podcast: Looking inside the brain in real time

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Podcast length: 4 minutes 3 Seconds

Podcast Description

Part of a talk from TED 2008, this podcast by Christopher deCharms takes a look at what, for VR is a low-hanging holy grail for neurology: A way to use fMRI to show brain activity -- thoughts, emotions, pain -- while it is happening.

Presenter Biographies

Christopher deCharms

Neuroscientist Christopher deCharms is helping to develop a new kind of MRI that allows doctor and patient to look inside the brain in real time -- to see visual representations of brain processes as they happen. With his company Omneuron, deCharms has developed technology they call rtfMRI, for "real-time functional MRI" -- which is exactly what it sounds like. You move your arm, your brain lights up. You feel pain, your brain lights up.

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14.5 MB

Podcast viewing notes

The talk starts out with Chris demonstrating that you can 'mimic what you see'. You can program the hundreds of muscle fibers in your hand and arm, to duplicate someone else's wave.

He goes on to use this metapor as he talks of looking inside the brain, and programming the brain areas directly.

fMRI for the masses uses a colleague, Peter, whose brain is zoomed in on and dissected non-invasively via this technology, as a light introduction to how brain activity state changes can be detected via fMRI.

"If you feel burnt, you pull your hand away, but if you still feel pain in six months time, its because these circuits in your brain are still producing pain that is no-longer helping you."

fMRI can watch these circuits in real-time (10ms delay), watch the information processed and work out what is happening. By allowing the patient to watch in real-time, they allow the patient to work on changing their own brain patterns with interactive feedback.

Additional Research Links

Christopher deCharms


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