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It is the first to do so at the cellular resolution

A team of researchers from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has successfully mapped a fish brain at the cellular level, allowing a closer look at neural activity at high speeds.

The team was led by Misha Ahrens and Philipp Keller, both of which are from HHMI's Janelia Farm Research Campus.

The team used high-speed light sheet microscopy to achieve whole brain imaging of the brain of a fish larva. They were able to image the activity of 80 percent of the neurons in the brain at speeds of a whole brain every 1.3 seconds.

According to Nature, this is "the first technology that achieves whole brain imaging of a vertebrate brain at cellular resolution with speeds that approximate neural activity patterns and behavior."

The study found that broadly distributed functional circuits exist, as researchers observed corresponding activity patterns across large areas of the brain at the cellular level.


The next step will be to identify how these funtional circuits affect behavior. Understanding neural activity at the cellular level can help researchers not only understand the brain/body's function overall, but one day lead to better treatments or even cures of certain diseases.

This research comes at a time when the White House has been discussing its Brain Activity Map project, which aims to achieve exactly what the HHMI researchers are working on -- understanding neural activity at the cellular level.

Source: Nature





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