MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (3/27/2024) — University of Minnesota Medical School researchers have introduced a new, refined method for analyzing brain signals, enhancing our understanding of brain functionality. This research has the potential to improve treatments for neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, pain, epilepsy and depression. The findings were recently published in NeuroImage

"This breakthrough provides a more detailed understanding of the brain's complex activity, akin to upgrading from a basic telescope to a sophisticated space observatory,” said David Darrow, MD, MPH, an assistant professor at the U of M Medical School, a neurosurgeon with M Health Fairview and senior author. “This innovation could impact various aspects of everyday life — from education and mental health to artificial intelligence, paving the way for future technological advancements and a deeper understanding of human cognition.”

One of the key findings of this research is the enhanced ability to analyze direct brain recordings — meaning scientists can now better understand how brain activity correlates to different tasks and behaviors. Additionally, this method allows researchers to directly extract patterns of brain activity over time, revealing how different brain areas process stimuli during tasks such as image identification.

“This research represents a significant advance in our ability to analyze neural signals. It opens up new possibilities for understanding the complex dynamics of the human brain, paving the way for future discoveries in neuroscience,” said Alexander Herman, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School, attending psychiatrist with M Health Fairview and co-senior author.

The research team is working on the next iteration of the platform, which will allow them to decode brain signals and apply strategies for integrating them into medical devices and new treatments. 

Funding was provided by the National Institute of Drug Addiction [5K23DA050909] and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. This research was also supported by the University of Minnesota's MnDRIVE (Minnesota's Discovery, Research and Innovation Economy) initiative.


About the University of Minnesota Medical School
The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. 
We acknowledge that the U of M Medical School is located on traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Dakota and the Ojibwe, and scores of other Indigenous people, and we affirm our commitment to tribal communities and their sovereignty as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with tribal nations. For more information about the U of M Medical School, please visit med.umn.edu