Babies have interestingly shown to prefer looking at faces more than objects, for reasons that have been a mystery to many scientists. However an interesting study was published on the 8th of June in which research concluded that the fetus develops this ability, preferring to look at faces rather than objects. Ultrasound technology was used to track the fetal behaviour, the scientists projected a stimuli in two orientations (“upright” and “inverted”), and the light was projected into the maternal abdomen. Using the 4D ultrasound scanner, they tracked the movement of the head of the fetus. The fetus was in the third trimester of pregnancy, 34 weeks into pregnancy, and the period in which the human fetus can process perceptual information. The studies showed that the fetuses were more likely to move their heads to follow the stimuli that appeared as face like shapes.
The study carried out by Vincent M.Reid of the Lancaster University in England, used the three dots that were in an inverted triangle in order to appear as the top two dots were the eyes and the bottom one for the mouth or nose. This essentially was the face down to its very minimum. The researchers carried out the study on 39 fetuses and displayed each type of triangle a total of five times on all fetuses. They concluded that of the 195 times the face like triangle was projected, a total of 40 head turns were made. In comparison when non-face like triangles were projected, only 14 head turns were counted. This lead to conclusion that fetuses were more likely to identify the face like shapes to the non-face like shapes.
Figure B was the image that was close to a face-like visual stimuli.
Some scientists have claimed that it is a too early to suggest that fetuses are that advanced at the stage. The use of triangle projections means that the image is different to what an actual face looks like, lacking the head shaped borders. Despite this, the study is opening doors for a very interesting theory on how facial perception is in fact encoded into the human sensory system. Among this, the ability to project images onto the womb and track the reaction of the fetus is an exciting prospect.
For many years the use of deep brain stimulation otherwise known as: DBS, has been used to treat those who have had Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders. Parkinson’s disease is a condition where parts of the brain become damaged over a period of time. Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that affect memory of the brain and its functions.
Starting in 1997 a most complex surgery of where thin wired electrodes are implanted. This can also be known as a brain’s pacemakers - helping it send nerve impulses to the subthalamic part of the brain. The subthalamic nucleus found in the brain performs its functions as part of the Basal Ganglia system - it contains many neurons that connect and run through the brain. This surgery is done by drilling through the skull of the patient and the wired electrodes are passed through.
Now after some long periods of research conducted they have been now able to invasive methods of looking at nerve patterns and stimulate impulses from outside of the brain. This new technique is known as the: Temporal Interference. Conducted by Boyden and Nir Grossman they were able to activate neurons in the brain by using electrical fields. Our brain cells will not react to any type of high frequencies but will only react to low frequencies. They had suggested a hypothesis that if they send 2 high frequency signals that only differ by a small amount - then they would interfere causing a much lower frequency which activates neurones.
They had first done computer models and then moved onto testing on mice. They had placed electrical nodes in the hippocampus of the brain. They monitored the activity of the brain in the ice by using a clamping patch. A gene found in the brain known as the: c-Fos had actively triggered neurons at a fast rate that were responding to the frequencies being sent. After testing on dead mice they then moved onto testing on real mice - they use fluorescent pigments to help monitor the alive brain cell and also differentiate them from the dead.