Divya Himachal Logo Feb 24th, 2017


On Off Cycles of Brain

On Off Cycles of BrainNow, Stanford researchers have found, those same cycles exist in wake as in sleep, but with only small sections sitting and standing in unison rather than the entire stadium. It’s as if tiny portions of the brain are independently falling asleep and waking back up all the time. What’s more, it appears that when the neurons have cycled into the more active, or “on,” state they are better at responding to the world. The neurons also spend more time in the on state when paying attention to a task. This finding suggests processes that regulate brain activity in sleep might also play a role in attention.

Cycling on and off

Understanding these newly discovered cycles requires knowing a bit about how the brain is organized. If you were to poke a pin directly into the brain, all the brain cells you’d hit would respond to the same types of things. In one column they might all be responding to objects in a particular part of the visual field — the upper right, for example. The team used what amounts to sets of very sensitive pins that can record activity from a column of neurons in the brain. In the past, people had known that individual neurons go through phases of being more or less active, but with this probe they saw for the first time that all the neurons in a given column cycled together between firing very rapidly then firing at a much slower rate, similar to coordinated cycles in sleep. Those cycles, which occur on the order of seconds or fractions of seconds, weren’t as visible when awake because the wave doesn’t propagate much beyond that column, unlike in sleep when the wave spreads across almost the entire brain and is easy to detect.

Pay attention

The team found that the higher and lower activity states relate to the ability to respond to the world. The group had their probe in a region of the brain in monkeys that specifically detects one part of the visual world. The monkeys had been trained to pay attention to a cue indicating that something in a particular part of the visual field — the upper right, say, or the lower left – was about to change slightly. The monkeys then got a treat if they correctly identified that they’d seen that change. When the team gave a cue to where a change might occur, the neurons within the column that senses that part of the world all began spending more time in the active state. In essence, they all continued flipping between states in unison, but they spent more time in the active state if they were paying attention. If the stimulus change came when the cells were in a more active state, the monkey was also more likely to correctly identify the change. The scientists said the findings also relate to previous work, which found that more alert animals and humans tend to have pupils that are more dilated. In the current work, when the brain cells were spending more time in an active state the monkey’s pupils were also more dilated. The findings demonstrate an interaction between synchronous oscillations in the brain, attention to a task and external signs of alertness.


December 10th, 2016


Gizmo Buzz

Gizmo BuzzIntex Aqua Classic 2 Domestic smartphone brand Intex has expanded its Aqua series. The company has launched the Intex Aqua Classic 2 at a price of Rs 4,600. The smartphone is available in Champagne colour across all the leading retail stores in the country. Aqua […] विस्तृत....

December 10th, 2016


App of the Week

App of the WeekShow Off Your Drifting Skills With The New Mustang Web App If you’re a Ford Mustang lover and want to drive the new Mustang, you can do so with your smartphone. Well, kind of. The automobile major has rolled out a web-based app that lets […] विस्तृत....

December 10th, 2016


Cash Starved Himachal

Cash Starved HimachalHimachal is cash starved after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetisation विस्तृत....

December 3rd, 2016


Himachal Excellence Award 2016

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December 3rd, 2016


Support For Better Protection Of Dairy Animals

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December 3rd, 2016


From the Editor’s Desk

Himachal Cabinet Decisions Himachal Cabinet has provided relief to three thousand two hundred PAT teachers in the backdrop of demonetization. Social and economic aspects of demonetization are dominating anti Modi waves now even as one section is hurt due to loss to exchequer and growth. […] विस्तृत....

December 3rd, 2016


Aam Aadmi Unable To Get Justice From Courts

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December 3rd, 2016


Youths Make India A Cashless Economy

Youths Make India A Cashless EconomyKaram Singh Thakur (The writer is based at Sundernagar, Mandi) According to the World Bank figures, Indian economy was world’s tenth biggest force on the basis of exchange rate and third biggest force in terms of purchasing power in 2012. Indian economy is continuously growing […] विस्तृत....

December 3rd, 2016


Himachal Fails To Produce Athletic Sports Stars

Himachal Fails To Produce Athletic Sports StarsBhupinder Singh The writer is Hamirpur based editor in sports magazine ‘Penalty Corner’ Whether it is national games or Olympics, athletics competitions are most attractive part of such events. In fact all the games have emanated from natural human movements like running, jumping and throwing. […] विस्तृत....

December 3rd, 2016

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