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1.  Memory Enhancement and Deep-Brain Stimulation of the Entorhinal Area 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;366(6):502-510.
The medial temporal structures, including the hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex, are critical for the ability to transform daily experience into lasting memories. We tested the hypothesis that deep-brain stimulation of the hippocampus or entorhinal cortex alters memory performance.
We implanted intracranial depth electrodes in seven subjects to identify seizure-onset zones for subsequent epilepsy surgery. The subjects completed a spatial learning task during which they learned destinations within virtual environments. During half the learning trials, focal electrical stimulation was given below the threshold that elicits an afterdischarge (i.e., a neuronal discharge that occurs after termination of the stimulus).
Entorhinal stimulation applied while the subjects learned locations of landmarks enhanced their subsequent memory of these locations: the subjects reached these landmarks more quickly and by shorter routes, as compared with locations learned without stimulation. Entorhinal stimulation also resulted in a resetting of the phase of the theta rhythm, as shown on the hippocampal electroencephalogram. Direct hippocampal stimulation was not effective. In this small series, no adverse events associated with the procedure were observed.
Stimulation of the entorhinal region enhanced memory of spatial information when applied during learning. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Dana Foundation.)
PMCID: PMC3447081  PMID: 22316444
2.  Internally generated preactivation of single neurons in human medial frontal cortex predicts volition 
Neuron  2011;69(3):548-562.
Understanding how self-initiated behavior is encoded by neuronal circuits in the human brain remains elusive. We recorded the activity of 1019 neurons while twelve subjects performed self-initiated finger movement. We report progressive neuronal recruitment over ~1500 ms before subjects report making the decision to move. We observed progressive increase or decrease in neuronal firing rate, particularly in the supplementary motor area (SMA), as the reported time of decision was approached. A population of 256 SMA neurons is sufficient to predict in single trials the impending decision to move with accuracy greater than 80% already 700 ms prior to subjects’ awareness. Furthermore, we predict, with a precision of a few hundred ms, the actual time point of this voluntary decision to move. We implement a computational model whereby volition emerges once a change in internally generated firing rate of neuronal assemblies crosses a threshold.
PMCID: PMC3052770  PMID: 21315264
3.  Invariance of Firing Rate and Field Potential Dynamics to Stimulus Modulation Rate in Human Auditory Cortex 
Human brain mapping  2010;32(8):1181-1193.
The effect of stimulus modulation rate on the underlying neural activity in human auditory cortex is not clear. Human studies (using both invasive and noninvasive techniques) have demonstrated that at the population level, auditory cortex follows stimulus envelope. Here we examined the effect of stimulus modulation rate by using a rare opportunity to record both spiking activity and local field potentials (LFP) in auditory cortex of patients during repeated presentations of an audio-visual movie clip presented at normal, double, and quadruple speeds. Mean firing rate during evoked activity remained the same across speeds and the temporal response profile of firing rate modulations at increased stimulus speeds was a linearly scaled version of the response during slower speeds. Additionally, stimulus induced power modulation of local field potentials in the high gamma band (64–128 Hz) exhibited similar temporal scaling as the neuronal firing rate modulations. Our data confirm and extend previous studies in humans and anesthetized animals, supporting a model in which both firing rate, and high-gamma LFP power modulations in auditory cortex follow the temporal envelope of the stimulus across different modulation rates.
PMCID: PMC3085610  PMID: 20665720
human; auditory cortex; spiking activity; local field potentials (LFP)
5.  Internally Generated Reactivation of Single Neurons in Human Hippocampus During Free Recall 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2008;322(5898):96-101.
The emergence of memory, a trace of things past, into human consciousness is one of the greatest mysteries of the human mind. Whereas the neuronal basis of recognition memory can be probed experimentally in human and nonhuman primates, the study of free recall requires that the mind declare the occurrence of a recalled memory (an event intrinsic to the organism and invisible to an observer). Here, we report the activity of single neurons in the human hippocampus and surrounding areas when subjects first view cinematic episodes consisting of audiovisual sequences and again later when they freely recall these episodes. A subset of these neurons exhibited selective firing, which often persisted throughout and following specific episodes for as long as 12 seconds. Verbal reports of memories of these specific episodes at the time of free recall were preceded by selective reactivation of the same hippocampal and entorhinal cortex neurons. We suggest that this reactivation is an internally generated neuronal correlate for the subjective experience of spontaneous emergence of human recollection.
PMCID: PMC2650423  PMID: 18772395
6.  Interhemispheric correlations of slow spontaneous neuronal fluctuations revealed in human sensory cortex 
Nature neuroscience  2008;11(9):1100-1108.
Animal studies have shown robust electrophysiological activity in the sensory cortex in the absence of stimuli or tasks. Similarly, recent human functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) revealed widespread, spontaneously emerging cortical fluctuations. However, it is unknown what neuronal dynamics underlie this spontaneous activity in the human brain. Here we studied this issue by combining bilateral single-unit, local field potentials (LFPs) and intracranial electrocorticography (ECoG) recordings in individuals undergoing clinical monitoring. We found slow (<0.1 Hz, following 1/f-like profiles) spontaneous fluctuations of neuronal activity with significant interhemispheric correlations. These fluctuations were evident mainly in neuronal firing rates and in gamma (40–100 Hz) LFP power modulations. Notably, the interhemispheric correlations were enhanced during rapid eye movement and stage 2 sleep. Multiple intracranial ECoG recordings revealed clear selectivity for functional networks in the spontaneous gamma LFP power modulations. Our results point to slow spontaneous modulations in firing rate and gamma LFP as the likely correlates of spontaneous fMRI fluctuations in the human sensory cortex.
PMCID: PMC2642673  PMID: 19160509

Results 1-6 (6)