Russian scientists find way to speed up human reactions
Russian scientists have created a method to speed up human reactions by stimulating areas of the brain where images are generated and perceived. Among the benefits, the method could help people recover from brain injuries and improve the focus of drivers and pilots, one researcher told the Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK) newspaper.
The project was jointly developed by teams at the N. I. Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod (UNN) and the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (IKBFU) in the western Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. The results were published earlier this year in the Sensors journal.
The method of non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation is used for rehabilitation after strokes, encephalitis, and cerebral palsy, as well as in the treatment of clinical depression. The procedure is performed by applying a device to the patient’s head, which creates a changing magnetic field that activates neural networks in specific parts of the brain.
The scientists also conducted transcranial magnetic stimulation on healthy people, including athletes, UNN neurotechnology professor Susanna Gordleyeva told MK on Tuesday.
Sixty volunteers who took part in the experiment had their dorsolateral prefrontal cortex stimulated. This area of the brain is usually activated when a person is planning certain movements, Gordleyeva explained.
After a ten-minute exposure, scientists “recorded an acceleration in the generation of the relevant commands in the brain as well as in the motor actions that followed,” she added.
“It turned out that such stimulation in healthy people improves coordination and reactions… for a period of between one and a half to two hours,” Gordleyeva said.
According to the scientist, the method has proven to be effective in men and women alike. She added that the breakthrough had practical benefits and could be used, for example, to increase transport safety.
“We are developing a neural interface that will allow the prediction of a drop in focus among operators of complex systems such as drivers and pilots, and stimulate the activity of their brain via short impulse,” Gordleyeva explained.