31 October 2008

Jen tem seu nome batizado em célula / Scientists discover single brain cell dedicated to Jennifer Aniston


Cientistas descobriram que entre os bilhões de neurônios presentes no cérebro existe um que acaba reagindo individualmente quando uma pessoa se depara com a imagem de uma pessoa conhecida. Esse tipo de neurônio, batizado de neurônio Jennifer Aniston - em homenagem à atriz que fazia a Rachel nos seriado americano Friends, pode ajudar cientistas a entender como as imagens são processadas no cérebro e transformadas em memória. O estudo, a ser apresentado na Universidade de Leicester, na Inglaterra, constatou, em testes com voluntários, que quando uma pessoa se depara com a foto de uma celebridade, como por exemplo Jennifer Aniston, uma célula específica responde com um aumento na sua atividade de geração de impulsos nervosos. Quando a mesma pessoa depois recebia fotos de outras celebridades - como Hale Berry, Tom Cruise ou Oprah Winfrey - a resposta vinha em outras células individuais totalmente diferentes. Segundo o estudo do professor argentino Rodrigo Quiroga, neurônios específicos do cérebro reagem imediatamente à imagens familiares, como por exemplo, de parentes, amigos, ou celebridades. "Estou examinando como as informações sobre o mundo externo (o que vemos, ouvimos ou tocando) e nossas próprias representações internas (por exemplo: memórias, emoções, etc) são representadas pelos neurônios no cérebro", disse Quiroga. "Esses neurônios, normalmente, são bastante silenciosos, mas quando mostrávamos uma fotografia que eles 'gostavam', sua atividade aumentava em até mil vezes", disse Quiroga. Ele ainda descobriu que observando esses neurônios em atividade, era possível supor o que os pacientes estavam vendo - eles literalmente conseguiam "ler" a mente dos pacientes.

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It is a discovery that could explain the enduring appeal of Friends. Scientists have found brain cells devoted to Jennifer Aniston. Fans of the actress, who played socialite Rachel Green in the Channel 4 sit-com, are likely to have at least one brain cell that springs into action each time they see a picture of her, research suggests. Other brain cells are similarly encoded to store memories of individual celebrities, from actress Halle Berry to former US presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. On the brain: Fans of Friends actress Jennifer Aniston are likely to have at least one brain cell spring into action each time they see her Even Star Wars character Luke Skywalker has a cell of his own. The Leicester University research, contradicts the popular theory that a large network of cells are involved in processing images of people. Instead, it appears, our brains streamline the process by devoting individual cells to store memories of specific people or places. Neuroscientist Rodrigo Quian Quiroga (CORR) made the finding after showing people being treated for epilepsy hundreds of pictures of famous people and of landmarks. Tiny electrodes implanted as part of their treatment picked up the electrical activity or 'firing' of around 100 brain cells in each person. Tests showed that one woman had a cell that specifically recognised pictures of Jennifer Aniston. Another woman had a brain cell for pictures of Halle Berry, responding to drawings of her face and an image of just the words in her name. Even a picture in which the Catwoman actress's face was almost covered by her costume made the cell fire. Other celebrities exciting individual brain cells included Pamela Anderson, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise. Famous landmarks also had their own cells. The study also showed that the same person can have a number of cells devoted to different celebrities or landmarks. Professor Quian Quiroga said: 'The patient with the Jennifer Aniston neuron had 19 other cells firing to different things. 'There was one firing to Pamela Anderson, another one was firing to the Tower of Pisa, another to Sydney Opera House and so on.' Although the researchers only found one Jennifer Aniston or Halle Berry cell per person, they only sampled a fraction of the available brain cells. This means each person's brain is likely to have a number cells devoted to their favourite celebrities. It is likely we also have cells coded to recognise family members. In further experiments, the researchers have shown it is possible to tell whether a person is looking at a picture of Jennifer Aniston or of Halle Berry simply by monitoring their brain cells. Professor Quian Quiroga, who will give a lecture on his findings next week, said they could feed into research into the development of prosthetic limbs driven by the brain. The work could also aid research into Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, schizophrenia and other conditions which involve the area of the brain studied.

1 comment:

Lanai said...

Cada uma hein?!!!!!! Aff!!!