All that white noise in your head is the Dark Matter of your brain!

by Madonna Watts D'Souza

All that white noise in your head is the Dark Matter of your brain!

May 12, 2021

The brain has always been a source mystery for several scientists. However, one aspect of the brain irritated neuroscientists: The constant electric conversations the neurons had, which leads to a weird and constant white noise in several EEG studies. However, researchers Bradley Voytek has changed the perspective of several researchers as they now believe that these aspects rather play an important role in the functioning of the brain.

We are all familiar with the static noise of the TV. But, guess what, our brain gossips in that language too! Not only you and I but even neuroscientists were irritated by this noise until now as this background noise could hold the key to many of the brain’s mysteries.

At first, several scientists were reluctant and even dismissed the fact that this background static is worthy of research. Soon researcher Bradley Voytek and neuroscientists from UC San Diego and Berkeley created software that separates uniform oscillations in the brain waves, e.g. Alpha waves. 

Voytek, in his own studies, noticed that electrical sounds in people’s brain change as they age. This led him to create this software. The software analyses both asleep and awake volunteers for these waves that hide in our brain activity’s aperiodic parts. 

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What exactly is Aperiodic activity? 

Aperiodic activity is nothing but erratic brain activity. Traditionally, it was assumed that the brain had very structured and consistent functions and hence the Aperiodic activity is quite a mystery to researchers, but with an advance in research and development, scientists were able to figure out much about the static brain talks.  

 The brain excites and inhibits certain recipient neurons for smooth functioning. Too much of either can make the brain go haywire and cause seizures or coma respectively. As we age, our aperiodic activity increases, which explains the relationship between arrhythmic activity and less memory efficiency. 

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Why does the Brain create Aperiodic Waves?

With the new software neuroscientists were able to plot a graph of the “white noise” these brain waves emit. Electroencephalogram (EEG) scans and data reveal several brain mysteries. For example, why don’t babies produce uniform oscillatory waves and when exactly do these brain waves appear. However, many questions remain unanswered.  

One might wonder as to why does the brain create aperiodic waves? And what is their function? Scientists have some theories: Aperiodic activities signify the balance between the inhibition-excitation the brain constantly engages in. While the other one is that these waves simply depict the neat physical structure of the brain.   

Aperiodic waves are like the dark matter of the biological world, although it is still a mystery, scientists believe many secrets of the brain are tucked within the irritating white noises created by them. Do you hear these irritating static noises?  


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