ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Bone Density Predicts Chances of Breast Cancer
Body Fat, Muscle Distribution Linked to RA Disability
CANCER
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Family History Key Player in Brain Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Caring for Aging Loved Ones Can Be a Catch-22
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Nuts May Help Cholesterol Levels
Eating Vegan or Raw-Vegan at Regular Restaurants
Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Depression
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Drinking Green Tea May Protect Eyes
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
FITNESS
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
Man Dies of Brain Inflammation Caused by Deer Tick Virus
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
Combo Treatment Eases Wheezing in Babies
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Natural Relief for Painful Menstrual Cramps
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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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