Connections are not only the key in creative and innovative thinking (see Welcome), but also form the core of thinking itself. Brain activity (‘thinking’) is, simply put, a pathway(s) or connection(s) that is active. The so-called firing of action-potentials in neurons (=activity) allows us to think, perform the tasks we do, and function altogether.
Many psychiatric disorders as well as neurological disorders (in my opinion these disorders lie on one big grey continuous spectrum, but for some clarification/discussion I would like to refer you here) result from an imbalance in these connections. Over the past three decades scientists have been busy developing a treatment called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), with which they can interfere with these connections and alter their connectivity – ideally of course reversing the imbalance. Although there is still a lot to discover — even the exact effect DBS has is still under debate — it is a very exciting and possibly promising approach.
This entertaining but above all informative TED-talk by neurosurgeon Andres Lozano gives you a bit of an idea of what DBS entails and the remarkable results trials have shown.
Besides a possible novel treatment option, DBS also allows for a possibly better understanding of how connectivity in the brain works. Especially in combination with imaging techniques such as DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) DBS research may be able to give us valuable insights into one of the core fundamentals of our brain — the way we are wired: connectivity.
Altogether, exciting stuff on the key idea of this blog: connections.
However, in this case it is not about making connections when creatively thinking about things but about the act of thinking itself: connectivity in the brain.