A new way of interpreting information from old devices has allowed researchers to watch the brain thinking in real time and could provide insight into such disorders as epilepsy and autism.

The advance, by a team of neurobiologists at the University of California, San Diego, represents a new approach to interpreting electroencephalograms—devices that record electrical activity in the brain.

“Our paper is the culmination of eight years of work to find a new way to parse EEG data and identify the individual signals coming from different areas of the brain,” says UCSD researcher Scott Makeig. “This much more comprehensive view of brain dynamics was only made possible by exploiting recent advances in mathematics and increases in computing power.”

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