by Sudha Bhat on  January 9, 2013 at 11:20 AM Health Watch
Blink to Reboot Your Brain
You must have heard the phrase 'Blink and you'll miss it' numerous times. Now how about this, 'Blink and reboot your brain'. After all even the brain needs a break, a little rest.

Blinking keeps the eyes moist and helps to remove small particles and dust from the eyes.

Humans need a good 8 to 9 hours of sleep or 'shut-eye' every night to stay healthy. We may seldom notice this, but on an average, our eyes blink 15 to 20 times per minute. A recent study shows that the human brain utilizes that tiny moment of shut-eye to relax a bit and recharge itself. Blinking reduces blood flow to regions associated with paying close attention to the surrounding environment.

This study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, in which researchers from Japan's Osaka University evaluated the changes in brain activity that occur immediately following blinking.

The researchers asked 20 healthy adult volunteers to watch clips of the "Mr Bean" TV show while scanning their brains using a functional MRI (fMRI) scan and recording their eye movements.

When the participants blinked, the researchers detected a momentary stand-down or a power-down within the brain's areas involved with processing visual stimuli and areas that manage attention. The brain's 'idle' setting steps up to fill the momentary lapse in attention; in this mode, thoughts wander freely into the past and the future.

The researchers say that blinking tends to occur at natural breaks in attention, such as at the end of sentences when reading, pauses in speech, and moments in movies where there is less happening.

Other studies conducted on blinking have shown that people have been found to blink less while telling a lie. However, it was found the liar will blink far more frequently than a truth-teller in the seconds after telling the lie.

The researchers say that their results suggest that blinking actively helps to disengage our attention during a cognitive task; however this theory merits further research.

Source: Medindia

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