Images

Hands-on at this exhibit

  • Play computer games using your brain waves
  • Watch a 3D film of the brain's connections 
  • Test your skills of concentration and memory

Further reading

Sharp, D.J. et al. 2014 Network dysfunction after traumatic brain injury. Nature Reviews Neurology

Hellyer, P.J. et al. 2013 Individual prediction of white matter injury following traumatic brain injury. Annals of Neurology 73, 489-499

Hampshire, A. et al. 2012 Fractionating human intelligence. Neuron 76, 1225-1237

Head injuries often cause damage to the brain which can be long-lasting. We investigate how networks of interacting brain regions support thinking, and how they are damaged by head injury. We also use brain imaging to map the connections of the brain, and test their functioning. In our exhibit, we show how the brain is constructed of a ‘network’ of interconnected brain regions, and show how damage to these produces problems thinking clearly. We also use electroencephalography (EEG) to measure changes in electrical brain activity following traumatic brain injury (TBI). We demonstrate with a hands-on ‘mind controlled’ video game how we can use brain waves to measure attention, which is often impaired after head injury.

 
Head injuries can often produce long-lasting damage to the brain and cognitive function. Discover how we can use brain imaging techniques to map out the location of damage to the connecting fibres that link brain regions together.

Memory and attention are often impaired by head injuries and can result in long-term disability. These cognitive functions depend on the efficient interactions between brain regions, which link together to form functional networks. Head injuries disrupt these networks by injuring the connecting fibres that link brain regions together. Our research uses brain imaging to: (1) map out the location of damage to these connecting fibres; (2) assess the functioning of brain networks; and (3) predict the effects of this damage on cognitive function.

We are developing tests of cognitive function that can be used over the internet, building on the success of one the team in carrying out large-scale studies of intelligence. We are also developing a number of novel treatments for cognitive impairment after TBI. Of most relevance to the proposed exhibit is a portable real-time electroencephalography (EEG) system that measures brain network function in real-time, and uses the fluctuations in brain rhythms to trigger feedback designed to limit the drifts of attention that disable many TBI patients.

Lead image: A reconstruction of the millions of observable white matter fibre bundles in the brain of a healthy 28-year-old male.