dimanche 19 avril 2009

Health Scan: HU deepens our understanding of brain function

A new analytical tool showing how our brains record outside stimuli and react to them has been developed by a team of Hebrew University scientists. Although much progress has been made in recent decades in understanding the brain, scientists still know relatively little about how it functions. The two key problems are that there will never be enough real data from measuring what the brain actually does, and even if there were, there haven't been enough methods for analyzing such data to reveal how neural coding takes place.

The analytical method developed at Hebrew University should be able to provide an indication, for example, of how many neurons encode a given stimulus such as reactions to a face or movement, and how they collaborate to do it.

Current technology allows researchers only a very partial view of brain activity. For example, we can't record the activity of more than a few hundred nerve cells from the cortex of an animal carrying out a task. Methods like MRI can map larger brain areas, but cannot measure single neurons. What can one learn from such a partial view?
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Source: Article de Judy Siegel-Itzkovich @ TJP

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