Monday, February 25, 2013

This Is What a Brain Looks Like When It's Forming Memories

A few weeks ago, Japanese scientists released video footage of the neurons firing in a baby zebra fish brain while it hunted for food. It was pretty cool. This week, researchers at Stanford University announced they have used a similar technique to capture real-time neuronal images from a mouse brain. It’s pretty cool, too. 

As in the fish study, Stanford scientists used gene therapy to elicit a bright, fluorescent green flashes from mouse neurons whenever they fired. From there, they implanted an extremely small microscope in the mouse’s brain, just above the hippocampus. According to a university press release describing the experiment, the camera was able to capture the activity of about 700 hippocampal neurons. A microchip wired to the camera transmitted the images to a monitor for the scientists to view.

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