Queen's Researcher Discovers Spinal Cord's Ability to Process Information
March 23, 2011 4:43 PM
comment(s) - last by
A person's level of attention affects information processing in the spinal cord
It is well understood that
the brain holds many functions
, including the processing of information in all vertebrates and most invertebrates. But now, a researcher from the
Queen's MRI Facility
has found that the spinal cord is capable of processing information as well, and he is working to map this function in order to help bridge spinal cord injuries.
Dr. Patrick Stroman, study leader and director of the Queen's MRI Facility, has spent time mapping the function of the spinal cord, including its information processing capabilities. More specifically, he has studied the regions above and below spinal cord injuries in an effort to better understand both the injury and the appropriate treatment. In doing so, Stroman has
that could aid in bridging injuries on a spinal cord.
The technique consists of an MRI system taking multiple images of the spinal cord while temperature sensations are performed on the skin. These temperature sensations are varied, and cause certain areas of the spinal cord to react. The MRI then captures these reactions. This could be used to identify the injury that needs to be bridged.
While performing this technique, Stroman also realized that a persons level of attention affects the spinal cord's information processing. The MRI was able to capture spinal cord activity in those who were alert and those who were distracted by certain tasks.
"The effect of attention is one of the reasons that when you're playing sports and you get hurt, you often don't become aware of the injury until after the game when your attention and focus changes," said Stroman. "We already knew that a person's level of attention affects information processing in the brain, but this finding has made us aware that level of attention has to be properly controlled in research that aims to accurately map spinal cord function."
This research could improve treatment and technology for
spinal cord injuries
, and could also be applied to conditions such as fibromyalgia or multiple sclerosis.
"Basic physiology books describe the spinal cord as a relay system, but it's part of the central nervous system and processes information just like parts of the brain do," added Stroman.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
spinal cord & brain are very connected
3/24/2011 5:29:08 AM
I hurt my neck playing sports a while ago, and i've had a fused vertebrae for a few years. At times if i have'nt been doing my stretches or strengthening exercises and spend alot of time on the computer, the pain from my neck (spinal cord) actually effects my speech! I start to slur certain words, its a very bad sign i know, but it shows the connection between spinal cord and brain is very strong.
"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
Human Astrocytes Used to Repair Spinal Cord Injuries in Rats
March 4, 2011, 1:25 PM
Visual Cortex Processes Language, Changes Understanding of Brain's Boundaries
March 1, 2011, 4:03 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Most Popular Articles
Worth the Wait? Microsoft Teases at Windows 10 Flagship Phones to Air Oct. 6
September 15, 2015, 5:13 PM
Apple's First Fixes to iOS 9 Land w/ iOS 9.0.1 Release
September 23, 2015, 6:11 PM
Breaking Bad: How to Crash Google's Chrome Browser With Just 8 Characters
September 23, 2015, 11:08 AM
Apple Watch Commands 2 in 3 Smart Watch Sales, WatchOS 2 Sweetens the Pitch
September 20, 2015, 6:07 PM
Fakebook Pt. I: From "The Chive" to "AskMen"; How Facebook's Phonies are Born and Used
September 15, 2015, 4:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information