Researchers "Mind Read" a Mouse in Real Time
February 20, 2013 12:05 PM
comment(s) - last by
Tiny microscope and fluorescent dye allow a fascinating glimpse inside rodent memory
are often used to evaluate pre-clinical human medical techniques. In a recent study,
Professor Mark Schnitzer
used a neuro implant -- a tiny microscope -- and fluorescent dye to literally "read" a mouse's thoughts by visualizing
Neurons flood with calcium ions when they fire. Via some clever genetic engineering, Professor Schnitzer spliced in gene systems to express green fluorescent proteins when calcium was present. As a result the cells light up when they're firing.
The microscope was implanted into the hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for spatial reasoning and episodic memory in mice and men. The microscope's digital imaging chip captured images of over 700 neurons.
The seemingly chaotic resulting patterns of "green fireworks" -- neuron firings -- actually were discovered to have regular patterns. Even after months of not seeing it, a mouse would recognize a certain spot or familiar stimulus, and the neurons would fire off in a predictable pattern.
The firing neurons create distinctive patterns. [Image Source: Stanford University]
In that regard, the experiment functioned as rodent
of a sort -- although the limitation is that the researchers had to first record which neurons fired upon certain stimuli, in order to develop a langauge set.
, "We can literally figure out where the mouse is in the arena by looking at these lights. The hippocampus is very sensitive to where the animal is in its environment, and different cells respond to different parts of the arena. Imagine walking around your office. Some of the neurons in your hippocampus light up when you're near your desk, and others fire when you're near your chair. This is how your brain makes a representative map of a space."
The rodent mind-reading technique could be used to study brain disease.
[Image Source: Gawker]
The technique could be applied to studying degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer's Disease in mouse models. Such diseases are still poorly understood on a cellular level. The procedure could also lead to experimental techniques in humans, though clearly the requirements of gene splicing and brain implants would make such an application unlikely in the near term.
The work was published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal
The results are promising enough that Professor Schnitzer is spinning off a startup to manufacture and sell the device to pharmaceutical and biomedical research firms.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
If you're interested in this check out
2/20/2013 9:13:02 PM
If you're interested in this check out the connectome project.
"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad
Cancer Drug Cures "Human" Alzheimer's in Fruit Flies and Rats
September 25, 2012, 3:23 PM
New Scanner Shows Simplistic Organization of the Brain
April 1, 2012, 6:10 PM
Brain Activity Decoded To Produce Words, Could Produce Method of Mind-Reading
February 1, 2012, 1:30 PM
Creationists are Mad About Google Doodle Depicting Evolution
November 24, 2015, 8:48 PM
DHS and TSA: Whoops, We Missed That 73 Airport Employees May be Terrorists
November 19, 2015, 2:16 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information