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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Activity of neurons in human temporal cortex during identification and memory for names and words.

Extracellular recordings of human temporal cortical neuronal activity during identification and memory for object names or words were obtained from 31 neurons at 18 sites in 12 left language dominant patients undergoing left (10) or right (2) awake craniotomy for epilepsy under local anesthesia. Frequency of activity during identification was compared with perceptual controls, that during the encoding phase of recent memory to identification of the same material. Statistically significant changes in one or more temporal epoch (p < 0.005) of one or more comparisons were present for 27 of the 31 neurons in either hemisphere. Few neurons changed activity in the same direction for both words and names. The instruction to retain an item in recent memory changed activity in most neurons from that during identification of the same material, although the items presented were identical and overtly identified in each task. Any individual neuron usually changed activity in one direction for only one task. There are separate, widely distributed neural networks for identification or recent memory for each type of material. The majority of nearby neurons recorded through the same extracellular microelectrode were related to the networks for different tasks. The temporal characteristics of these changes were also investigated; 31% of the changes were "phasic": temporally related to presentation or response to the item. Most of the remaining neuron changes were sustained throughout a task, often for several minutes. These task-specific sustained changes may reflect effects of thalamo-cortical attentional systems. Individual neurons had both sustained and phasic changes to different tasks.[1]


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