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Motor Neurons Adjust to Control Tasks

By Carnegie Mellon ­niversity

April 20, 2017

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Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh have found that motor cortical neurons optimally adjust how they encode movements in a task-specific manner.

They say this is a breakthrough with the potential to improve the performance and reliability of brain-machine interfaces.

The study examined the change in brain activity during simple motor tasks performed via virtual reality in both two and three dimensions. The results demonstrated that dynamic range adaptation occurred in the motor cortical neurons.

Based on these findings, the researchers believe this feature is widespread throughout the brain.

"Our findings show that it is a feature of information processing, which your brain uses to efficiently process whatever information it is given--whether that is light, sound, touch, or movement," says University of Pittsburgh professor Andrew Schwartz. "This is an exciting result that will motivate further research into motor learning and future clinical applications."

From Carnegie Mellon University
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