These pulses highlighted neurons and were used to shave micrometer brain slices with a vibrating razor blade.
The whole process was then repeated until the entire brain was imaged. Each brain produced around 20 terabytes of data - about the storage space of 4, DVDs - before algorithms were used to stitch the images together. A team of seven trained individuals then scoured the resulting dataset to digitally untangle individual neurons.
Fireworks in the Brain - NICABM
Today, by using neuron-tracing algorithms and software developed by MouseLight and Janelia's Scientific Computing group, each team member can track roughly one neuron per day. The work is significant because we know very little, relatively, about how neurons transmit messages acorss the brain. However, this view is largely oversimplified and more data is needed to know exactly how these messages are sent, received and what can cause these networks to degrade.
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From their analysis of these neurons the researchers have already discovered neurons are often vastly more far-reaching and connected than once thought. For example, the axons of individual neurons in the thalamus often branch into unexpected combinations of cortical areas, such as those involved in taste, touch, and movement.
Shoot a rocket into the sky and you set off fireworks inside your own head.
Similarly, in the subiculum, a region linked to learning and memory, neurons almost always reach out to a few different places. He and colleagues expect to trace hundreds more neurons in the coming months. Neuroscientist Eve Marder of Brandeis University and Janelia member added: "We knew that different regions of the brain talked to each other, but seeing it in 3-D is different. The results are so stunning because they give you a really clear view of how the whole brain is connected.
Our Brain On Fireworks
The team reported the release of their current dataset and an analysis tool, called the MouseLight NeuronBrowser , on November 13, at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D. Sign up for our daily newsletter Newsletter. Secondary menu.
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