Calcium fluorescence measurements show the activity of neurons (left), allowing scientists to deduce how the neurons are connected with each other (right)
(credit: MPI for Dynamics and Self-Organization)

Decoding the brain’s circuit diagrams

New method facilitates mapping neural connections

October 19, 2012

cientists from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, the University of Göttingen and the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Göttingen has now developed a method for decoding neural circuit diagrams.

Using measurements of total neuronal activity, they can determine the probability that two neurons are connected with each other.

The human brain consists of around 80 billion neurons that exchange signals with each other. Understanding which neurons connect with each other promises to provide valuable information about how the brain works.

Identifying the connection network directly from the tissue structure is practically impossible, even in cell cultures with only a few thousand neurons. In contrast, there are well-developed methods for recording dynamic neuronal activity patterns. Such patterns indicate which neuron transmitted a signal at what time, making them a kind of neuronal conversation log.

Read more: Decoding the brain’s circuit diagrams | KurzweilAI.

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