“Brainy” Mice with Human Brain Cells: Chimeras of Mice and Men

Human brain cell transplantation makes mice smart.  The transplanted cells are not neurons and the cells communicate without using electricity. Continue reading

Posted in Animal Research, Brain Development, by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication, Evolution, Learning and Memory, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Uncategorized
Posted by Douglas Fields        Comment
Human brain anatomy

Can brain functions be computed?

People are getting excited this month on the more-than-century-old debate about whether or not the brain is computable – whether we could make a computer or machine that simulates it. The recent debates were partly caused by the book published by Ray Kurzweil, How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed. Oppositions to the claims and contents of the book have been published by major scientists. One text by Christof Koch in Science1 covers very well the naive and misinformed aspects of this book concerning its statements on biology and intelligence and I will not go further into pinpointing the issues. Christof Koch also provides an accurate view of how complex the question is and how far we are from understanding any brain – let alone the human brain – to program it into a computer. Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, Cell Communication, Evolution, In Society, Language, Learning and Memory, Movement, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Neuroethics, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
Posted by Jean-François Gariépy        Comment

An online game makes people contribute to neuroscience research.

As a kid, one of my dreams was to be able to look at the brain with a microscope and find every connection between each neuron. When I started neuroscience research, I realized this was an unrealistic dream – the number of connections is too big. To find all the connections between every neuron in a chunk of brain smaller than one cubic millimeter, I would have to spend years, if not decades, under the electron microscope, clicking on a computer. Completing the entire brain would be impossible in a lifetime, even for a large group of scientists. Recently, a professor at the MIT has developed a tool that might change this. Continue reading

Posted in Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, Cell Communication, In Society, Neural Network Function, Neuroanatomy, Neuroeducation
Posted by Jean-François Gariépy        Comment