New Irish research has found brainwave patterns that provide fresh insights into motor neurone disease, a rare condition that progressively damages parts of the nervous system.
Researchers at Trinity College Dublin discovered some parts of the brain in people with the disease are “over-connected” while other sections show reduced activity.
The new discoveries are pointing to the mechanisms in the brain which were not previously taken into account, the findings by Trinity’s Academic Unit of Neurology showed.
Motor neurones control important muscle activity, such as gripping, walking, speaking, swallowing and breathing.
In Ireland about 110 people die every year from the disease, which mainly affects adults over the age of 40.
Commenting on the significance of the findings, Dr Bahman Nasseroleslami, senior research fellow, said: “Understanding how the networks in the human brain interact in health and disease is a very important area that has not been adequately researched.”
Using electroencepha-logram (EEG), which records brain activity, it was possible to uncover changes in function that had not been possible until recently.
“The computational power, mathematical and statistical tools were just not available,” Dr Nasseroleslami added.
“But our findings have shown that we can now explore the living human brain in a very sophisticated and non-invasive way,” he pointed out.