Pave the way for new technology plan 680 nerve
fiber 79 dendrites 774 synapses
[introduction] a neurological institute meeting about 30000 attendees, nearly 5000 people flocked to an auditorium, watching American harvard neuroscientist Jeff Lichtman show their research results - rat brain slices.
Recently, a neurology society meeting about 30000 attendees, nearly 5000 people flocked to an auditorium, watching American harvard neuroscientist Jeff Lichtman show their research results - rat brain slices.When they are amplified in a few large projection screen, some of the similar to the organization of the cylinder with unprecedented precision are presented: 680 nerve fibers that 79 dendrites, 774 synapses.Chemical signals through the links passes from one neuron to neuron.
Be show accounts for only one over one billion of the mouse brain, the cortex of such precise details in a few years ago was unthinkable.But in recent years, the progress of high flux and the development of automation electron microscope Lichtman's team is "open a new era".In bethesda, Maryland, the U.S. national institute of neurological disorders and stroke (NINDS) project director Yuan Liu
says, researchers can study brain circuits in a single synaptic levels.NINDS funding Lichtman research.
For Liu, Lichtman speech is the best part of the meeting, because his report shows some day in the future, the new technology can achieve U.S. President barack Obama has proposed a controversial "plan", the plan aims to through the innovation of nerve technology to strengthen the understanding of the human brain, accelerate to map the brain structure and activity.Liu said: "we can't put all the money for the development of science and technology, but Lichtman research truly showed the great value of investment."
For others, Lichtman from thousands of only 30 nanometers in mice of the data obtained from the brain slices, not only complicated, and worrying.Cold spring harbor laboratory in New York neuroscientist Partha Mitra, argues that in addition to generate the 100 trillion bytes of data and some beautiful pictures, it also helps to understand the organizational structure of the brain.He said: "at present levels simply describes neuronal circuits to thoroughly understand the brain is not enough, we haven't even reached the atomic or molecular level."Mitra added: "if you're at the atomic level deconstruct around any object, will get a lot of complicated details, but this is not the way we understand the chemical and physical properties."
As a field among the first scholars to create detailed neural circuit map, Lichtman over the years has been heard many voices of doubt.In 2007, he and his colleagues published a rainbow called brain brain imaging techniques.The technology by using fluorescent protein light inside the brain neurons to help scientists understand the operation of the brain.Brain rainbow helps to draw the peripheral system connection, but not enough to distinguish between density distribution in the central nervous system (CNS) and overlapping neurons.This year, the color of the rainbow to introduce more new brain highlight the cell membrane and the cell body, from different kinds of fluorescent proteins in order to better use labeled antibody.Lichtman forecast, they will eventually find out CNS connection, but, he says, the electron microscope is still the most effective way to track the cell.
Said Lichtman, a postdoctoral student Bobby Kasthuri, synaptic levels in the brain mapping in many people's eyes is something crazy things, because it need resolution is functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) 1 trillion times.
Lichtman says new details of electron micrograph will has great revelatory.At brandeis university in Massachusetts neuroscientists Eve Marder said: "for example, figure from cerebral cortex of a significant finding is that you can not only based on the location of the axons and dendrites intersect inference synapses, still can pass these details to form a clear framework, and no longer stay in the imagination."Although some neuroscientists Lichtman image quality, others are approved for this emerging technology.A group of graduate of Stanford university neuroscientist Karl Deisseroth research showed great interest in, and watched the academic circles the research and development of technology can make the brain tissue transparency.Deisseroth is the pioneer with light.Beside Deisseroth, in firing neurons constantly flashing on the screen, these are all Deisseroth is preparing to deliver the latest works.
An imaging technique called SWIFT can capture the circuits of the animal's brain activity.In order to better observe the activity of state, the researchers in a rodent dug a hole on the skull.Deisseroth laboratory, a graduate student Logan Grosenick said, with the help of microscope and computing technology, the researchers can render large images of neurons and carries on the analysis of the image and the analysis process can include more than 1000 cells at the same time.In the virtual reality environment, when the animals are playing or complete different tasks, the neural activity can be recorded at the same time.
Similarly, zebrafish as experimental object, the technology can also in fish swimming or other activities to monitor the activity of individual neurons.Neuroscientist at the Massachusetts institute of technology and engineer Mehmet Fatih Yanik said that this technology is expected to be the main track real-time activity in the brain structure."I think the technology will soon be adopted by other LABS, including my lab."
Kasthuri said: "I will not stop the job at hand. Enthusiasm for new technology is unable to suppress. I'm going to try to persuade each around people believe in the correctness of this technology."