About Careers MedBlog Contact us

Neural Code of the Brain Decoded by Researchers

by Julia Samuel on December 30, 2014 at 2:50 PM
Font : A-A+

Neural Code of the Brain Decoded by Researchers

Brain signals were read by lighting up the genetically encoded activity sensors in the nerve cells. Prof. Hausser and colleagues engineered nerve cells in the brains of mice to read and write brain signals.

They engineered the same nerve cells to express light-sensitive proteins and to write brain signals that can be activated with flashes of light. Brain activity was observed and controlled in mice by combining the techniques.


"Just as we combine specific words into sentences that elicit a reply from someone we talk to, we used light to activate specific combinations of nerve cells in the intact brain and record how the other cells respond," he added.

The team found a way to activate several brain cells at the same time. Using a holographic technique, they split a beam of light into smaller beamlets that they directed to individually selected brain cells.

They tested the approach on a group of cortex brain cells that respond to touch. When they activated the chosen neurons with the beamlets, they saw flashes of activity not only in the activated neurons but also in hundreds of their neighbors.

They activated selected brain cells in different patterns and measured how the circuit responded - demonstrating how the technique offered a way to "interrogate" the chosen brain circuit.

The experiments were repeated in the same group of neurons with the same mice over days and weeks, allowing them to have an extended "conversation" with the brain circuit.

The team hopes eventually to crack the "neural code" of sensory perception - the language our brain cells use to tell each other about the information our senses gather from our environment.

Dr. John Isaac, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at the Wellcome Trust - a sponsor of the study said, "This new approach helps us understand how complex behavior is produced by the nervous system. The work is a step towards realizing one of the ultimate challenges of modern science: understanding how the brain processes information to produce appropriate actions."

The insights gained could also extend beyond understanding neural code - they could reveal how brain activity responds in disorders like autism and dementia.

Source: Medindia


Recommended Reading

Latest Research News

 Experiments on Child Brain Tumour and Muscle Ageing Heading to Space
The International Space Station will be used to carry out experiments seeking to improve understanding of incurable child brain tumors and the muscle aging process.
 Nearly 1 In 5 UK Adults Experience Negative Responses to Sounds
How many people in the UK have misophonia? In a representative sample study, most people had at least some irritation upon hearing trigger sounds.
Why Are 1 in 8 Indians at Risk of Irreversible Blindness
Routine eye-checkups and mass screenings enable early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma. Late-stage glaucoma diagnosis leads to blindness.
 Blind People Feel Their Heartbeat Better Than Those With Sight
Brain plasticity following blindness leads to superior ability in sensing signals from the heart, which has implications for bodily awareness and emotional processing.
New Biomarkers Help Detect Alzheimer's Disease Early
A group of scientists were awarded £1.3 million to create a new “point of care testing” kit that detects Alzheimer's disease biomarkers.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close

Neural Code of the Brain Decoded by Researchers Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests