In today’s article we have some experimentation with non-human primates aka monkeys. What they did is implant some electrodes into the brain and then utilizing computer networking (which they’ve called a ‘Brainet’), connected their brains together. In this connection they were trained to control an avatar arm on a computer screen. They were given tasks to do with the avatar and with successful completion, were given a reward. In order to complete these tasks successfully, the monkeys had to work together to accurately control the avatar, complete the mission and get the reward. The researchers noted that with practice the monkeys improved their teamwork, their neuronal patterns of activation to achieve the goals began to mimic each other, as did the specific geographic locations of these neurons. This means neural plastic changes occurred.
In the discussion section, the article states that they are suspecting this may work with humans too– to hook up human brains in a ‘Brainet’ to initiate neural plastic changes in those with neural limitations by a ‘normal’ brain showing the damaged brain how to do a specific task. Think stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s, etc. Could this be a future path of neurologic therapy? The therapist having an electrode implanted in their brain, then getting connected to a network with their patients to structurally reorganize their brain neurons? I think that would be so cool! And scary at the same time. Is my brain’s organization good enough and therefore worthy enough to be a pattern for someone else’s brain? I don’t know about that. Haha.