The activity of the motor cortex that occur during the execution of tasks is repeated and after — during rest and sleep. It found American scientists, after examining the patterns of brain activity of two paralyzed people with implanted in the cortex with microelectrodes. The repetition of the activity was characteristic of many times repeated and successfully learned information, so the results help to clarify the process of memory consolidation during sleep, write scientists in Cell Reports.
Memories in the brain can be described in the form of specific sequences of electrical activity: for example, in order for these memories to reproduce the brain to repeat the activity, and in the same orderin which it was received when memorizing. At the same time between obtaining some information and its subsequent playback there is another stage of consolidation, i.e. the transition of memories from short term memory to long-term.
In fact, the consolidation process must also be based on the playing activity is received during the formation of memories, but still known all the details of this process: in particular, it is unknown what role it played by other brain areas besides the hippocampus, the main memory.
Jean-Batista Eichenlaub (Jean-Baptiste Eichenlaub) from the General Clinical hospital of Massachusetts and his colleagues managed to conduct a study of neuronal activity in the consolidation process on human beings — two participants in the clinical trials of the BrainGate2 project. In the course of the project paralyzed people in the field of motor cortex implanted electrodes: with them in the past year have already managed to develop a neural interface to control the tablet. In the new study, the researchers also used the neural interface to ensure that the participants could move the cursor around the screen.
As the task the participants had to play in the likeness of a children’s educational game “Simon”: it uses a circle divided into four parts, which in turn lights up a particular color. The participants were shown a circle on the screen, and after each compartment was on fire and Gus in a specific sequence, they were asked to repeat it. The cursor is moved using neurointerface: participants imagined moving hand to move the cursor to a specific location on the screen and he was moving due to appear in this moment of activity of the motor cortex.
The sequence showed several times and alternated them with control sequences that are not repeated: thus it was possible to allocate the activity, which was observed in a learned and successfully repeated sequences. At the end of the tasks participants were again allowed to relax a bit and sleep.