Scientists regularly discard up to 90 percent of the signals from monitoring of brain waves, one of the oldest techniques for observing changes in brain activity. They discard this data as noise because it produces a seemingly irregular pattern like those seen in river fluctuations, seismic waves, heart rates, stock market prices and a wide variety of other phenomena.
Now, though, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found evidence that these data may contain significant information about how the brain works. In a study published in the May 13 Neuron, a closer look reveals not only previously unrecognized patterns in the data but also shows that putting the brain to work on a simple task can change those patterns.
“We don’t yet know how to decode the information contained in these signals, but the fact that they’re such a large part of brain activity and that they can be modulated when you do a task suggests that they are going to be very important to understanding the brain,” says lead author Biyu Jade He, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow.
Are they talking about 1/ƒ noise (pink noise) here? The brain does generate 1/ƒ noise.
(via Phase III)