Jan 142018
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.

Micropipette with holes

Image: Model (left) and high resolution image (right) of the nanoengineered micropipette with holes to distribute electrical current. Credit: Daniel Schwarz

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
  • The Brain’s Marauder’s Map
    on January 17, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    “Social place cells” in the brains of Egyptian fruit bats and other mammals encode the locations of their fellow animals. Credit: Yossi Yovel In Harry Potter, the young wizard is given a piece of parchment called the Marauder’s map on which is a ... […]

  • Spectratech Creates Brain Mapping Equipment - Latest Neuroimaging Advancements Announced by Ampronix
    on January 4, 2018 at 3:00 am

    ORANGE COUNTY, Calif., January 4, 2018 (Newswire.com) - Spectratech Inc., a Japan-based research and development organization, has created a series of Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) devices that tout increased connectivity and monitoring ... […]

  • New brain mapping technique reveals link between connectivity and IQ
    on January 3, 2018 at 12:00 am

    According to a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA, a novel and comparatively simple technique that maps the wiring of the brain has indicated a relationship between how well connected a ... […]

  • Teens: This is how social media affects your brain
    on July 12, 2016 at 3:00 am

    Reward circuitry In a recent study, researchers at the UCLA brain mapping center used an fMRI scanner to image the brains of 32 teenagers as they used a bespoke social media app resembling Instagram. By watching the activity inside different regions of the ... […]

  • BRAIN initiative is underway, funding new ways to map cells, circuits
    on October 1, 2014 at 12:18 am

    Obama administration shows us the money, $46 million of it, backing up its brain research initiative Scientists will aim to capture the workings of the human brain in comprehensive recordings, to watch the brain while in motion and to reimagine the world's ... […]

  • Brain-mapping projects to join forces
    on March 19, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    It seems a natural pairing, almost like the hemispheres of a human brain: two controversial and ambitious projects that seek to decipher the body's control center are poised to join forces. The European Union’s €1-billion (US$1.3-billion) Human Brain ... […]

  • Brain mapping confirms patients with schizophrenia have impaired ability to imitate
    on March 13, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    Now, the results of a brain-mapping experiment conducted by a team of neuroscientists at Vanderbilt University strengthen the theory that an impaired ability to imitate may underlie the profound and enduring difficulty with social interactions that ... […]

  • Brain Mapping Over 25 Years Old
    on June 20, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Neurons vary in size from 4 microns (.004 mm) to 100 microns (.1 mm) in diameter. But brain mapping has been going on at least since the late 1980s. At that time, the United States Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science was commissioned ... […]

  • Connecting the Neural Dots
    on February 26, 2013 at 1:12 am

    In setting the nation on a course to map the active human brain, President Obama may have picked a challenge even more daunting than ending the war in Afghanistan or finding common ground with his Republican opponents. In more than a century of scientific ... […]

    on May 15, 2011 at 4:02 am

    Riyad Rasheed's (CEO of dWise Solution, Bangalore) Confidential TERRORISM/ illegal Prostitution directorate in INDIA, BLACK MONEY CONTROLER Pakistan TERRORIST using “REMOTE BRAIN MAPPING”. Riyad Rasheed is using ‘Psychotronic’ Weapons - REMOTE ... […]

via Google News and Bing News

Other Interesting Posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: