Brain Rhythm Associated With Learning Also Linked to Running Speed

Rhythms in the brain that are associated with learning become stronger as the body moves faster, UCLA neurophysicists report in a new study.

The research team, led by professor Mayank Mehta, used specialized microelectrodes to monitor an electrical signal known as the gamma rhythm in the brains of mice. This signal is typically produced in a brain region called the hippocampus, which is critical for learning and memory, during periods of concentration and learning.

The researchers found that the strength of the gamma rhythm grew substantially as running speed increased, bringing scientists a step closer to understanding the brain functions essential for learning and navigation.

"The gamma rhythm is known to be controlled by attention and learning, but we find it is also governed by how fast you are running," said Mehta, an associate professor of physics and astronomy, neurology, and neurobiology and the senior author of the study. "This research provides an interesting link between the world of learning and the world of speed."

The study is published in PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed online publication of the Public Library of Science.

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Neurophysicists report that brain rhythms associated with learning become stronger as we move faster. (Credit: © Maridav / Fotolia)

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