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Singapore: Advancing Brain Science with AI

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In the field of mental health and age-related disorders, unlocking the mysteries of the human brain is crucial. In a groundbreaking venture, researchers at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS Medicine), are leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to decode brain activity and reconstruct visual stimuli.

This innovative project, aptly named “Mind-Video,” not only delves into the intricate workings of the brain but also holds the promise of early disease detection, tailored treatments, and revolutionary learning programs.

The team, hailing from the Centre for Translational Magnetic Resonance Research at NUS Medicine, is spearheading a transformative approach to studying the brain’s responses. By utilising functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data, researchers can capture the dynamic interplay of thoughts, speech, and movements, offering a unique window into the complexities of the human mind.

“Mind-Video” takes the decoding of brain patterns a step further, aiming to visualise what individuals perceive. The team presented study participants with a variety of videos, from fleeting glimpses of moving objects to longer sequences featuring animals and humans. As the participants watched, fMRI scans meticulously recorded their brain activity.

The process lies in the subsequent use of an advanced AI model called Stable Diffusion. This cutting-edge technology deciphers the gathered brain activity data and translates it into brief video bursts, offering a glimpse into the visual experiences of the participants. Impressively, the AI model achieved an accuracy rate of 85%, marking a significant stride in decoding the intricacies of the human brain.

Associate Professor Helen Zhou, from the Centre for Sleep and Cognition in NUS Medicine, and Jiaxin Qing, a PhD student at the Department of Information Engineering, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, along with Chen Zijiao, a PhD student at the Centre for Translational MR Research at NUS Medicine, spearheaded this revolutionary study.

Their work, recently published on their project page, holds tremendous promise for various neuropsychiatric conditions, particularly those affecting movement and speech.

This breakthrough discovery is a beacon of hope for patients grappling with conditions like stroke, brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Cerebral palsy, ALS, and Parkinson’s. The potential applications extend beyond understanding brain processes to offer practical solutions for individuals with impaired sensory perception.

A/Prof Zhou emphasised the potential impact of their work, stating, “Our work can help to further our understanding of how the brain processes information with an unprecedented degree of detail.” The team envisions a future where this technology not only enhances communication systems but also contributes to the development of brain stimulation strategies, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

As the team prepares to showcase their groundbreaking work at the 2023 Conference on Neural Information Processing in New Orleans, USA, the scientific community eagerly anticipates the ripple effects of this research.

In the intricate dance between AI and neuroscience, “Mind-Video” stands as a testament to the collaborative power of technology and human curiosity, offering a promising avenue for transformative breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of the human brain.

According to the experts, the incorporation of AI in medicine transcends the boundaries of conventional healthcare practices. It heralds a future where patient care is not only more efficient and effective but also profoundly personalised.

As AI continues to evolve and integrate seamlessly into healthcare ecosystems, the ongoing synergy promises a healthcare landscape that is not only technologically advanced but also more compassionate and patient-centric than ever before.


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