An international team of researchers has made important discoveries about the brain’s noradrenaline (NA) system, which is targeted by medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, and anxiety. They used a groundbreaking method to record real-time chemical activity in the brain using electrodes that are already implanted for epilepsy monitoring. The research, published in the journal Current Biology, provides new insights into the brain’s chemistry and showcases a new way to gather data from the living human brain. The method, called voltammetry, has been used on animals but had not been tested on humans before. The team found a way to use electrodes that are already inserted in patients for medical procedures to conduct the voltammetry technique. By using these electrodes, they were able to record brain activity in awake patients who were undergoing deep brain stimulation surgery. This new approach allows for never-before-seen brain activity to be observed. The research focused on the noradrenaline system, which plays a role in regulating attention and arousal and is targeted by medications for various conditions. The researchers found that noradrenaline levels in the brain were linked to emotional intensity, particularly in response to unexpected images. This method of recording chemical activity in the human brain is a significant advancement in understanding brain function and could be used in a wide range of studies in the future.

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