Opening a window into the movies in our minds

In research, that brings to mind the movie Minority Report, a group of neuroscientists have found a way to see through another person’s eyes.

By reconstructing YouTube videos from viewers’ brain activity, researchers from UC Berkeley, have, in the words of Professor Jack Gallant, opened ” a window into the movies in our minds.”

Gallant’s coauthors of the study,  published in Current Biology, watched YouTube videos inside a magnetic resonance imaging machine for several hours at a time. The team then used the brain imaging data to develop a computer model that matched features of the videos — like colors, shapes and movements — with patterns of brain activity. Subtle changes in blood flow to visual areas of the brain, measured by functional MRI, predicted what was on the screen at the time.

Lead author, Shinji Nishimoto, said the results of the study shed light on how the brain understands and processes visual experiences. The next line of research is to investigate if the technology could one day allow people who are paralyzed to control their environment by imagining sequences of movements.






University of Limerick medical graduates conferred

Pictured with Dr. Neasa Starr at UL Medical Graduation

Last Tuesday, 14 June, was an historic day in the life of the University of Limerick Graduate Entry Medical School  (GEMS) in which I am Foundation Head of Teaching and Research in Physiology.

Four years ago on September 10th we welcomed 32 students, from a variety of degree disciplines, to Limerick to study at Ireland’s first graduate entry medical school. Last week those students, who came from backgrounds as diverse as music, engineering, science, and education, were conferred with their Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees.

Last week’s conferring ceremony for students marks a number of firsts – the first medical school to be founded in Ireland in over 150 years, the first graduate entry medical school in Ireland, and the first to integrate problem based learning techniques into its four-year curriculum.

I join with all my colleagues at GEMS in wishing this cohort of new doctors every success in their future careers.