Aug 15, 2021

Virtual reality boosts brain rhythms crucial for neuroplasticity, learning and memory

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, engineering, neuroscience, virtual reality

This is interesting. 😃

A new discovery in rats shows that the brain responds differently in immersive virtual reality environments versus the real world. The finding could help scientists understand how the brain brings together sensory information from different sources to create a cohesive picture of the world around us. It could also pave the way for “virtual reality therapy” for learning and memory-related disorders ranging including ADHD, Autism, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and depression.

Mayank Mehta, PhD, is the head of W. M. Keck Center for Neurophysics and a professor in the departments of physics, neurology, and electrical and computer engineering at UCLA. His laboratory studies a brain region called the hippocampus, which is a primary driver of learning and memory, including spatial navigation. To understand its role in learning and memory, the hippocampus has been extensively studied in rats as they perform spatial navigation tasks.

When rats walk around, neurons in this part of the brain synchronize their electrical activity at a rate of 8 pulses per second, or 8 Hz. This is a type of brain wave known as the “theta rhythm,” and it was discovered more than six decades ago.

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