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† Clinical applications of reconstructing brainís visual system


Narrator:       This is Science Today. Imagine the ability to tap into the mind of a comatose patient, or to actually watch someone else's dream? These futuristic possibilities are getting closer, thanks to research at the University of California, Berkeley. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and computational models, a team of scientists led by Jack Gallant, a professor of psychology and neuroscience, were able to decode and reconstruct people's visual system.

Gallant:         Vision is a really important thing to work on because humans are very visual animals and when humans have damage to their visual system, they're really incapacitated. So, we want to understand how vision works, both so that we can diagnose visual disorders better and so that we can hopefully repair them.

Narrator:       The team's ability to reconstruct movie clips in study participants' minds is a major leap towards understanding internal imagery and has several applications.

Gallant:         I think you'll be able to use this kind of technology for communicating with people who can't communicate. I think you could maybe use this in some forms of psychotherapy or dream analysis; there's a lot of potential clinical applications for this.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.