Thursday, December 27, 2012

exploring rhythm and brain function



the scientist | This September, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart exposed his brain to a live audience at the annual meeting of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) in New Orleans, Louisiana. With an electroencephalography (EEG) device strapped to his head, Hart strutted across the stage, drum in hand, as images of the rhythms pulsing through his brain were projected on big screens at the front of the hall. “It was like taking my brain out of my skull and watching it dance,” he says.

The stunt was the result of a collaboration between Hart and Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco. Brought together by their shared interest in the power of rhythm, the duo says they hope to generate new research into its role in higher-order brain functions—and find ways to influence brain rhythms to improve cognitive health.  

“Mickey had an experience several years ago with his grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s,” says Gazzaley. “He noticed she was most communicative when he played the drums. It hit home that music and rhythm could have therapeutic impact, something he’d suspected for a long time.” So the AARP put Hart in touch with Gazzaley, who studies how brain rhythms change with normal ageing and disease, to help raise funds for research designed to explore the science behind Hart's observation.

“We’re going after the rhythm code,” Hart says. “If we crack it, we may be able to use that information to diagnose and treat these brain diseases. That’s the big enchilada!”

0 comments:

What It Means To Live In Netanyahu's America

al-jazeera  |   A handful of powerful businessmen pushed New York City Mayor Eric Adams to use police to crack down on pro-Palestinian stu...