Image: Model (left) and high resolution image (right) of the nanoengineered micropipette with holes to distribute electrical current. Credit: Daniel Schwarz
In a feat of nanoengineering, scientists have developed a new technique to map electrical circuits in the brain far more comprehensively than ever before.
In the brain, dedicated groups of neurons that connect up in microcircuits help us process information about things we see, smell and taste. Knowing how many and what type of cells make up these microcircuits would give scientists a deeper understanding of how the brain computes complex information about the world around us. But existing techniques have failed to paint a complete picture.
The new technique, developed by researchers at the Francis Crick Institute, overcomes previous limitations and has enabled them to map out all 250 cells that make up a microcircuit in part of a mouse brain that processes smell – something that has never been achieved before.
The method, published in Nature Communications today, could be used by scientists worldwide to uncover the architecture of different parts of the brain.
“Traditionally, scientists have either used colour-tagged viruses or charged dyes with an applied electric current to stain brain cells, but these approaches either don’t label all cells or they damage the surrounding tissue,” said Andreas Schaefer, Group Leader at the Crick who led the research.
By creating a series of tiny holes near the end of a micropipette using nano-engineering tools, the team found that they could use charged dyes but distribute the electrical current over a wider area, to stain cells without damaging them. And unlike methods that use viral vectors, they could stain up to 100% of the cells in the microcircuit they were investigating. They also managed to work out the proportions of different cell types in this circuit, which may give clues into the function of this part of the brain.
Andreas added: “We’re obviously working at a really small scale, but as the brain is made up of repeating units, we can learn a lot about how the brain works as a computational machine by studying it at this level. Now that we have a tool of mapping these tiny units, we can start to interfere with specific cell types to see how they directly control behaviour and sensory processing.”
Learn more: New method to map miniature brain circuits
The Latest on: Brain mapping
Knowledge-based companies can attend brain mapping festival free of charge
on July 18, 2018 at 6:24 am
Organized by the National Brain Mapping Laboratory (NBML) of Iran, the festival will be held on October 10 and 11 in Tehran. The festival aims to promote modern technologies in the field of brain mapp... […]
3 who wished to undergo brain mapping test to prove rape allegation against them false and fictitious get court nod
on July 7, 2018 at 11:18 am
A local court here today allowed the Brain Mapping test of the 3 accused of alleged moving vehicle rape case even as the complainant, a 22 year old lady from Isanpur area of the city has herself been ... […]
Brain Mapping Instruments Market Upcoming Demands & Growth Analysis 2015 to 2021
on July 3, 2018 at 3:56 pm
Persistence Market Research has announced the addition of the “Brain Mapping Instruments Market: Global Industry Analysis and Forecast to 2015 to 2021" report to their offering. North America dominate... […]
New tools developed for brain mapping; should boost research into depression, dementia
on July 3, 2018 at 8:38 am
Charitha Guruge, a Ph.D. student at Florida Institute of Technology, places a sample of an inactive, or “caged,” version of the neurotransmitter glutamate in a photo reactor. The UV lamps in the react... […]
Brain mapping that seeks to identify 'normal' could aid Alzheimer's disease treatment
on June 8, 2018 at 5:00 am
Inside Florida’s largest retirement community researchers using new brain-mapping technology are trying to peel back the secrets of the brain. The goal is to make world-changing discoveries about how ... […]
The Supercomputer That Could Map the Human Brain
on June 6, 2018 at 12:57 pm
Bobby Kasthuri has a problem. In an effort to understand, on the finest level, what makes us human, he’s set out to create a complete map of the human brain: to chart where every neuron connects to ev... […]
Are we getting closer to a complete brain map?
on May 3, 2018 at 8:04 am
With better devices, science can get closer to a more complete picture of how neurons interact for cognitive functionality. (Photo/iStock) Science has yet to attain a complete understanding of the bra... […]
Brain Mapping Foundation Turned Los Angeles into the Brain Capital of the World and will be holding its first World BRAIN Expo in 2019 in Los Angeles
on April 22, 2018 at 5:00 pm
USC President C.L. Max Nikias, Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel, and Congressman Ted Lieu were amongst the recipients of the 2018 Pioneer Awards at the Gathering for the Cure Gala of Brain Mapping Foundatio... […]
Brain Mapping Can Help Kids with Autism
on April 17, 2018 at 11:13 pm
SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Brain mapping is a technique that can help focus the minds of Autistic children. It can also connect and settle down the rapid firing connections in their brains that interfere w... […]
Revolutionary brain-mapping technique provides new blueprint for cortical connections
on March 28, 2018 at 10:04 am
The large, triangular-shaped central area identifies the primary visual cortex in mouse. By barcoding 591 neurons in this region, the team used MAPseq to discover patterns of their projections to near... […]
via Google News and Bing News