Study could hold the key to brain disorders

Dr KongFatt Wong-Lin from Ulster University
Dr KongFatt Wong-Lin from Ulster University

In a world-first, researchers at Ulster University have found how to measure the speed and direction of visual signals between parts of the brain, a major discovery that could help medical professionals globally to better understand and treat brain disorders, such as stroke and neurodegenerative diseases.

Computer science experts at Ulster University, in partnership with Trinity College Dublin, used 3D computer modelling of the brain to explore the speed and pathway that visual signals travel from the optical lobe, the part of the brain that first interprets what we see, to the frontal, parietal and temporal lobes, which process more complex cognition such as decision-making.

This University research, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, one of the leading journals in brain sciences, has the potential to identify areas of the brain that are not functioning correctly, or at all, and provide clinicians with crucial information regarding the most appropriate patient treatment. Lead researcher, Dr KongFatt Wong-Lin from Ulster University said of the research: “It could also potentially be used to understand how some elderly people, seemingly for no reason can lose their balance, fall and injure themselves.’’