MOSCOW, 13 Nov. The areas of the brain responsible for creating motor images were discovered by UNN scientists as part of a research team. According to them, the method they found for magnetic stimulation of these areas can increase a person’s reaction speed and coordination, which can be used in medicine and sports training. The results are presented in Sensors.
Motor imagery is the mental simulation of an action in working memory without motor activity, the scientists said. They say this cognitive process helps musicians, athletes and dancers mentally train complex movements.
This type of imagination is widely used in medicine for the rehabilitation of patients with movement disorders, but the neural mechanisms underlying it have not been fully established, experts noted.
Scientists from the National Research Nizhny Novgorod State University named after N.I. Lobachevsky (Nizhny Novgorod State University) and the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University identified areas of the brain that are involved in the creation and perception of motor images. They were also able to identify the structure of the neural networks involved in the work of motor imagination.
“”It turned out that stimulation of the areas we discovered has a positive effect on the patient’s reaction speed. To do this, we used a non-invasive medical procedure – transcranial magnetic stimulation, which is used for diagnostics strokes, encephalitis, cerebral palsy and treatment of depressive disorders, ADHD and epilepsy,” said Susanna Gordleyeva, professor of the Department of Neurotechnology at the Institute of Biology and Biomedicine of Nizhny Novgorod State University.
The procedure used is based on the effect of an alternating magnetic field on certain areas of the brain using an induction coil, the scientists explained. This method makes it possible to deliver stimuli of various types, adapted to the characteristics of the brain of a particular patient.
“This discovery makes it possible to create a neural interface with magnetic stimulation, which will allow the development and acceleration of a person's response. Potentially, this approach is applicable to compensate for the slowing of the reaction in in old age, when creating new methods of rehabilitation of movement disorders and when developing new methods of training athletes,” explained Gordleyeva.
More than 60 volunteers participated in the study, whose data was processed using ultra-precise neural systems, the researchers noted. According to them, the development of a new neural interface will begin in 2024 on the basis of UNN.
The research was carried out within the framework of the state support program for universities of the Russian Federation “Priority-2030” of the national project “Science and Universities” and the Russian Science Foundation (grant No. 21-72 -10121).