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January 19, 1996 - Image 184

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-01-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Zee Va VreeiA Zlau se
eace, ear Ve .. .

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MOTHER page 131

from her two-week visit to Chi-
na last April.
She has left her son with his
grandmother, her own mother,
just as Dr. Chen herself lived
with her grandmother until the
age of 6. Although still practic-
ing medicine, Dr. Chen's mother
is no longer hospital director, so
she has more time for her grand-
child than she ever had for her
own daughter.
The boy's father also lives in
China, but the child does not live
with him either. Dr. Chen's hus-
band, associate professor at a
technical college, visits the boy
once each month. He is sched-
uled to visit his wife in Israel
sometime in the next few
months. Dr. Chen eagerly antic-
ipates his arrival.
"For my husband, science
comes first," Dr. Chen said.
"Even when I went to visit him,
he still went to work. For me,

both are important, science and
family. Next time, maybe I'll
choose to be a man, not a
woman."
Dr. Chen is happy at the
Weizmann Institute, not only
professionally, but also socially.
She has become friends with
some of the other 250 Institute
long-term visiting scientists,
and is one .of about a dozen
Chinese researchers there. She
has become attached to the land,
the people and the culture of Is-
rael. Although the thoughts of
her child gnaw at her, she re-
mains firm. She feels she made
the right choice: her mother's
choice.
"My baby gives me a lot of
pleasure. But if we do good sci-
ence here, then perhaps one day
people will not suffer from can-
cer. I must think of everyone's
children before I think of my
own." E

Brain's 'Inner World'
Clarified At Weizmann

The state of one's mind, as ex-
pressed by the brain's "internal
activity," affects the way in which
information is processed by the
brain, Weizmann Institute sci-
entists reported during Novem-
ber at the 1995 Annual Meeting
of the Society for Neuroscience in
San Diego, Calif.
The researchers also reported
that by monitoring the internal
patterns of activity, they were
able, for the first time, to predict
the exact brain-wave patterns
evoked by a visual image. More-
over, they were able to tell what
simple picture the eyes had just
seen. The experiments were con-
ducted using real-time optical
imaging, a method developed at
' the Institute.
These findings shed light on
the way we perceive the external
world by clarifying how the in-
ternal activity of the viewer's
brain interacts with activity pro-
duced by the external stimuli.
This, in turn, will advance the
understanding of the neuronal
basis of perception and behavior,
including the effect of internal
brain states related to thoughts
and emotions on normal and pos-
. sibly abnormal brain processing.
The study reported at the con-
ference was conducted by Dr.
Amos Arieli, Alexander Sterkin,
Professor Ad Aertsen and Pro-
fessor Amiram Grinvald, head of
the Grodetsky Center for the Re-
search of Higher Brain Functions
at the Weizmann Institute of Sci-
ence.
When our eyes see a picture,
they translate it into complex
electrical activity patterns, re-
ferred to as evoked brain waves,

which are further processed by
the brain in an elaborate way.
Paradoxically, when the same
picture is presented to our eyes
several times, each presentation
evokes a different pattern of '
brain waves.
For years,. some researchers
attributed this observation to
"brain-noise," which is merely a
nuisance to both the brain and
the researcher, while others felt
that meaningful information
may be hidden behind this ap-
parent noise.

Brain noise was
considered a
nuisance.

Recently, Dr. Arieli and col-
leagues, performing neuro-imag-
ing experiments on an animal
model, showed that this is not
noise at all. Rather, they found
that even when the eyes are
closed, highly structured brain-
wave patterns scan the brain in
a strikingly organized fashion.
Thus, the brain is constantly
"preoccupied with itself' so that
one may find internal represen-
tations of memories, moods, feel-
ings, plans, etc. even in those
parts of the brain that are sup-
posedly devoted to processing
sensory input.
In their latest study reported
at the conference. Weizmann re-
searchers first recorded the "in-
ternally driven" brain-wave
patterns. They then recorded the
intricate and highly variable pat-
terns evoked by the same picture

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