Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Long-Distance Synchrony

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Science's STKE  05 Apr 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 278, pp. tw130
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2782005tw130

How do distant brain areas communicate with each other? It is thought that neurons increase their impact on target groups through precise oscillatory synchronization. Long-range coherence modulation might represent a general mechanism for regulating the flow of information within the nervous system. To test this idea in human volunteers, Schoffelen et al. combined magneto-encephalography and electromyographic recordings during the performance of a basic reaction-time task, where the subjects implicitly learned the increasing or decreasing probability of a signal. The coherence of gamma-band (40 to 70 Hertz) oscillations between the motor cortex and the spinal cord did indeed make motor outputs more effective.

J.-M. Schoffelen, R. Oostenveld, P. Fries, Neuronal coherence as a mechanism of effective corticospinal interaction. Science 308, 111-113 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]