Balance measures tiny changes in force due to blood flow behind thoughts
S. Sandrone et al/Brain 2013
When the mind is at work, the brain literally gets heavier.
That fact may be surprising, but it isn’t new: In the 1880s, Italian scientist Angelo Mosso built an intricate full-body balance and reported that mental activity tips the scales. Now, a modern-day version of Mosso’s “human circulation balance” backs him up. Compared with a brain at rest, a brain listening to music and watching a video is indeed heavier, David Field and Laura Inman of the University of Reading in England report January 9 in Brain.
While teaching a course about brain-imaging techniques, Field grew curious whether Mosso’s general approach would work. So he and some students decided to find out. “It was a bit of a mad idea, to be honest,” Field says.
At the heart of both balances lies a simple seesaw lever. As weight shifts in a body, presumably from