Ferrier Lecture By Professor Alan Cowey FRS University of Oxford
This lecture was repeated on Wednesday 17 November at the University of Durham
Like his nineteenth century contemporaries, David Ferrier tried to reveal cerebral localisation of function by direct electrical stimulation of the exposed brain of animals. With some notable exceptions, the results were disappointing and confined to the systems governing movement, posture and balance. Much more was learned half a century later when Penfield stimulated the exposed brains of conscious patients who were being assessed for brain surgery, because the patients could describe their induced sensations and feelings. The recent technique of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), by which the brain is stimulated non-invasively from outside the head, allows almost anybody to be studied. As a result, TMS has successfully revealed new areas of brain function as well as functional mechanisms, like the plasticity that underlies recovery from brain damage, selective attention, awareness, and interactions between cortical areas - all of which Alan will discuss in the lecture.
Image © Tom Barrick, The Novartis and Daily Telegraph Visions of Science Awards