is it possible to convert neural activity produced in the brain to binary language code?

Hello and Good Evening Everyone,

            It is obvious that advances in medical technology  has enabled both scientists and physicians to to record various activity produced within the body as exemplified through the use of EKG to record activity of the heart, CT Scans to check soft tissues of the body which are undetected by conventional xrays, and ultrasound to help detect and diagnois various ailments just to name a few.  While it is certainly possible to convert activity within the body to electrical impulses which can be mapped out to detect and diagnois various medical anomalies, I am wondering if the same could be possible for converting such activity to binary language code.

              Any shared input to this question of scientific interest will be greatly appreciated.  

              Thank you

              George
GMartinAsked:
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theruckCommented:
human body is not a cpu. it does not produce any binary data. the body behavior can be recorded and represented by algorithms using a CPU but you need to know how to read the represent the data. maybe it seems obvious to you today but imagine that you show an EKG to a person who never seen a graph or a computer. 1 and 0 is the state of the transistor in the cpu, there is nothing binary in a human being.
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
binary language code
If it were possible, the first question would be... Which one?  There are thousands of binary codes available.

@theruck is right though.  In addition, all those wires they hook up connect to analog sensors which then get converted to digital signals.  Note that not everything in the body produces electrical signals.  Pretty much only nerves do that.  Things like blood pressure are measured by pressure sensors, not directly by electrical sensors.
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ozoCommented:
It is possible to convert any recorded signal to binary language code.  
Is there any particular sort of signal processing you want to do for which binary would be a more convenient format use?
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d-glitchCommented:
Neural Decoding is an active research area, but still in the very early stages.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neural_decoding

Neural activity is essentially binary  (from the Wikipedia article):
     Another description of neural spike train data uses the Ising model borrowed from the physics of magnetic spins.
     Because neural spike trains [are] effectively binarized (either on or off) at small time scales (10 to 20 ms) . . . .
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hello Everyone,

             This question is actually a slight spinoff from a previously closed question regarding the significance of dreams.  Speaking hypothetically of course, I was wondering if it could be possible to convert brain wave activity that occurs during the REM stage of sleep or dream state to binary code which could possibly be used by a computer program to display actual images of the dream.

              Thanks

              George
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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
No.  Your brain wave patterns will not represent the same things as someone elses.
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ozoCommented:
The relationship between brain wave activity and actual images of the dreams is not well enough understood to do this,
but it may be possible to correlate patterns of brain wave activity during known waking states to determine rough categories of dream activity.
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tliottaCommented:
First problem is that no two brains are alike. They all have different numbers of neurons with wildly different synaptic connections formed through wildly different growth patterns. Though the general purposes of many pretty small and localized areas is starting to be understood, there are significant differences in the details of each.

It's not at all like the CPU cores that are stamped out in the same patterns.

Regardless, plenty of research is being done, and some results are becoming impressive. See, for example, Scientists use brain imaging to reveal the movies in our mind. Maybe more interesting is Google images for "brain activity movies".

Far from perfect, but...?

Tom
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GMartinAuthor Commented:
Hello and Good Evening Everyone,

         Thanks so much for the insightful feedback and resourceful links given in response to my question.  I must confess that I was very naive when I first posted this question.  The actual answer, which obviously does not exist at this time, is much more complicated than I originally envisioned.   However, the link provided by Tom certainly does reveal some groundbreaking neural research going on which proves that brain wave activity can be converted to images.  Of course, the reconstructed images from the brain wave activity were unclear and vague as shown in the audio/video link provided by Tom.  Nevertheless, it is certainly an exciting starting point which I believe will open doors to further research into this area.  

                  Thanks again for the feedback shared within this post.

                  George
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tliottaCommented:
Unclear and vague, yep. But remember the first and second generations of video games? Who knows what the next 10-20 years will bring? And some of the reconstructed images are actually recognizable. Honestly, things are a lot farther along than I would've guessed. The "moving images" first came to my attention just a year or so ago.

BTW, one added complication for the question of "binary" translation... For a long time it was assumed that individual neurons worked in a "binary" fashion, e.g., either excitatory or inhibitory, essentially via the release of one neurotransmitter or its complement at the synapses. In the past couple decades, it's become certain that some types of neurons, and perhaps most of them, actually switch their sets of neurotransmitters as needed. The "binary" nature is seeming a bit more complicated than expected. In short, they can signal different 'types' of 'on/off' signals. The implications have a way to go.

Tom
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