New 3-D Model Shows Neural Network's Individual Connections
March 11, 2011 12:51 PM
comment(s) - last by
Could be useful for those with neurological conditions
researchers have created a 3-D nanoscale model of neural circuits, which allows the medical school team to "crawl" through the neural network's individual connections.
Clay Reid, study leader and Harvard Medical School professor of neurobiology, along with graduate student Davi Bock and postdoctoral researcher Wei-Chung Allen Lee, have developed a 3-D model capable of showing researchers
in the neural network, which could provide information about the brain we never knew before.
Until now, researchers have worked to find ways of understanding the brain's inner workings, especially in the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex processes reasoning, sensory input, and possibly even free will, making it one of the brain's most important regions. Researchers have understood a broad outline of the anatomy of the cerebral cortex for some time, and more recently, imaging technology has allowed them to look closer into the brain's methods of processing information. While this has showed what a circuit actually does, it hasn't showed us how it operates. This is because one circuit contains 10,000 to 100,000 neurons, where each makes 10,000 interconnections. This is a total of 1 billion connections within one single circuit, and this makes it difficult to get into the circuit and
examine its wiring
But Reid's team has been working at this problem for several years. They've studied the cerebral cortex thoroughly, isolating individual neurons while they "fire in response to external stimuli." Now, the team has successfully created a model capable of showing individual connections at work.
The Harvard team injected the region of a mouse brain responsible for vision with dyes that "flashed" whenever certain neurons fired. Then, using a laser-scanning microscope, they recorded these firings. Electron microscopy was then utilized to see these neurons and hundreds of others "with nanometer resolution." A new imaging system was then used to capture over 3 million high-resolution images, which were sent to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center at Carnegie Mellon University to be stitched into 3-D images. Ten individual neurons were chosen from these images and their connections were traced through the brain in order to develop a diagram.
Through this model, Reid and his team found that neurons that suppress
are randomly wired, suppressing neurons in local groups all at once, which is an important find for those with neurological problems. For instance, epilepsy is caused by neural restriction gone amiss.
"This is just the iceberg's tip," said Reid. "Within ten years I'm convinced we'll be imaging the activity of thousands of neurons in a living brain. In a visual circuit, we'll interpret the data to reconstruct what an animal actually sees. By that time, with the anatomical imaging, we'll also know how it's all wired together."
Reid plans to keep working to produce larger data sets, and to perfect the overall model.
was published in
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
3/11/2011 10:02:27 PM
Do you need to wear the cool glasses to get the full effect...or do you have to stare at it crosseyed like those Magic Eye pictures of the 90s?
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
Study: Cell Phones Boost Brain Activity by 7 Percent
February 23, 2011, 10:30 AM
Common Protein in Alzheimer's Also Helps Wire Nervous System
January 19, 2011, 10:01 AM
Microsoft Retiree Tapped as Struggling Obamacare Site's Top Repairman
December 17, 2013, 7:35 PM
China's Moon Rover Lands Safe and Sound, Starts Snapping Pics
December 16, 2013, 1:22 PM
Asiana Airlines Pilot in SFO Crash was Unfamiliar with Plane's Computer Systems
December 12, 2013, 11:44 AM
Amazon Could Save Big on Order Fulfillment with Warehouse Robots
December 10, 2013, 10:55 AM
U.S. Navy Fires "XFC" Drone from Underwater Submarine
December 6, 2013, 2:35 PM
Experts: Masturbation Prevents Cancer, Diabetes, Insomnia, and Depression
December 6, 2013, 2:01 PM
Most Popular Articles
Report: Windows 8.2 Revives Start Menu, Runs Metro Apps in Desktop Mode
December 10, 2013, 2:56 PM
Chinese Media Puts Positive Spin on Its Smog Problem, Touts 5 "Benefits"
December 11, 2013, 12:39 PM
China's Lunar Rover Enters Orbit, Prepares for Historic Sat. Landing
December 13, 2013, 5:00 PM
The History of Normandy: How Nokia Plotted a Low-End Android Line
December 11, 2013, 8:12 PM
Metro-Enabled Firefox Browser Expected to Land After Two Years of Work
December 12, 2013, 5:21 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
AT&T Explores $100B+ USD Deal to Acquire Vodafone's European Operations
Nov 4, 2013, 7:34 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2013 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information