Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Battling Brain

PostedApril 28, 2013

Anchor Lede: Struggling to concentrate” isn’t just a saying. Engineers are now able to see the way two networks in the brain battle for control when you need to focus.

Randy Atkins: In order to really concentrate, you need to forget about what’s for lunch or tonight’s plans.

Mingzhou Ding: When you engage in a task, you need to suppress all the activity that’s related to yourself.

Randy Atkins: Mingzhou Ding, a University of Florida engineer, says such musings roam through what’s called the brain’s default mode network. But a task control network…

Mingzhou Ding: -- they are physically separate in the brain --

Randy Atkins: …can take over. Until you start daydreaming again. Ding is, for the first time, using M-R-I machines and innovative engineering methods to watch these networks compete…

Mingzhou Ding: … in a kind of a battling type of situation…

Randy Atkins: …that Ding says could be at the root of disorders like autism. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.