ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Gene Therapy May Ease Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
CANCER
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
CAREGIVING
Study of Everest Climbers Questions Oxygen Use
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid May Help 'Preemie' Girls' Brains
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
Patients' Photos Help Boost Radiologists' Accuracy
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
For Fitness, Cutting Calories May Not Be Enough
Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
Global Warming May Bring More Respiratory Woes
Artificial Light Linked to Prostate Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
'Blind' Man Navigates Obstacle Course Without Error
Vision Test for Young Children Called Unreliable
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
FITNESS
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
When It Comes to Lifting, the Pros Have Your Back
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
New Methods Could Speed Production of Flu Vaccines
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
MEN'S HEALTH
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Music Soothes Anxiety as Well as Massage Does
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
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Time Teaches Brain to Recognize Objects

THURSDAY, Sept. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers say you really can't believe your eyes.

A team of neuroscientists publishing in the Sept. 12 issue of Science said they have tricked the brain into confusing one object the eyes see with another, proving that it takes time for humans to learn to recognize objects.

People never really see the same image twice, the team said. The retina receives innumerable impressions of the same image, depending on the direction of gaze, angle of view, distance and so forth. While neural activity changes as the eyes move, the perception of the image remains stable.

"This stability, which is called invariance, is fundamental to our ability to recognize objects but it is a central challenge for computational neuroscience," senior author James DiCarlo, of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, said in a university news release. "We want to understand how our brains acquire invariance and how we might incorporate it into computer vision systems."

The authors believe the fact that our eyes often move rapidly (about three times per second), while physical objects usually change more slowly, results in "temporal contiguity," in which these differing patterns of activity in rapid succession reflect different images of the same object.

In the study, the team created an altered visual world for test monkeys. An object would appear in the monkeys' peripheral vision, but as their eyes moved to examine it, a different object would replace the original one. This change, which is not perceived by the monkeys, causes them to confuse the two objects. During this, the researchers recorded the activity of neurons in the monkey's inferior temporal (IT) cortex, a high-level visual brain area. IT neurons "prefer" certain objects and respond to them regardless of where they appear within the visual field.

"We first identified an object that an IT neuron preferred, such as a sailboat, and another, less preferred object, maybe a teacup," graduate student Nuo Li, who worked on the study, said in the same news release. "When we presented objects at different locations in the monkey's peripheral vision, they would naturally move their eyes there. One location was a swap location. If a sailboat appeared there, it suddenly became a teacup by the time the eyes moved there. But a sailboat appearing in other locations remained unchanged."

After a while, the monkeys' IT neurons became confused. The sailboat neuron still preferred sailboats at all locations, except at the place where the images were swapped. Here, it learned to prefer teacups. The longer the manipulation, the greater the confusion.

"We were surprised by the strength of this neuronal learning, especially after only one or two hours of exposure," DiCarlo said. "Even in adulthood, it seems that the object-recognition system is constantly being retrained by natural experience. Considering that a person makes about 100 million eye movements per year, this mechanism could be fundamental to how we recognize objects so easily."

The researchers are now testing this idea using computer vision systems viewing real-world videos.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about eyes and vision.



-- Kevin McKeever



SOURCE: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, news release, Sept. 11, 2008

Last Updated: Sept. 11, 2008

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