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Inside Incredible Athletes

Cambridge Neuroscientist Dr. Rhodri Cusack (pictured right) contributes to a broadcast on Channel 4 examining how five paralympic athletes achieve almost superhuman skills.

The Inside Incredible Athletes documentary was screened last weekend (Sunday 29th August at 9PM) and profiled some of the elite British athletes who excel in their field, from both a personal and a scientific perspective.

Dr. Rhodri Cusack scanned the captain of the UK blind football team using fMRI, to understand how he can score goals again, and again, using auditory cues.

To find out more about how they used this technique with the captain of the UK blind football - why not watch the film on 4oD or youtube.com.

In addition to using the fMRI brain imaging technique Dr Rhodri Cusack and the research group at the Cognition Brain Sciences Unit (CBU) have been developing a new way to use an MRI scanner to investigate how the brain functions - Dynamically Adaptive Imaging. To this end they have recently (July, 2010) been awarded £260,000 from the Wellcome Trust to develop Dynamically Adaptive Imaging of Visual Memory and will investigate the representations underlying visual memories. Rather than analyzing the images of brain activity some time after the scan finishes, in this new method, "Dynamically Adaptive Imaging", the data from the MRI scanner are analyzed in real time and used to dynamically adapt the stimuli or task presented to the volunteer. Effectively, the experiment automatically adapts to the particular volunteer in the scanner, so allowing a much more detailed characterization of their neural representations. This method has many exciting applications in neuroscientific research and in the clinic for the future. Watch this space for further news! 

Posted on 31/08/2010

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