Feeds

Boffins grow brains in petri dish

Manmade rat neurons with memories

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

New hybrid storage solutions

For a chunk of the 20th century, SF writers played around with various “brain in a jar” scenarios, and now, it’s come true.

Well, only a little bit: it’s not a complete brain, and it’s a petri dish rather than a jar, but according to University of Pittsburgh researchers, they’ve managed to culture rat hippocampus cells, complete with memories, into a network able to sustain brain-like activity for as much as 12 seconds.

This allows the researchers to study how the brain cells hold and transmit an electrical charge – which, they claim, provides a gateway to studying the formation and transmission of memory between the cells.

As the paper’s abstract notes, “Persistent activity in the brain is involved in working memory and motor planning.”

In a living brain, the researchers note that it is difficult to study the mechanisms that underpin the formation of memory. By creating cells and networks that can sustain electrical activity in a petrie dish, the researchers get a sample that can be examined – without having to invade a brain in a living creature.

“The brain’s complex structure and the diminutive scale of neural networks mean that observing this activity in real time can be nearly impossible,” writes lead researcher Henry Zeringue.

To produce the cell networks, the researchers put adhesive proteins on silicon disks, and cultured embryonic rat hippocampus cells onto these disks. As they grew, they formed natural networks which could then be stimulated for the experiments. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Boffins: Behold the SILICON CHEAPNESS of our tiny, radio-signal-munching IoT sensor
Single ant-sized Stanford chip combines radio, 'puter, antenna
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
TROUT and EELS in SINISTER PACT to RULE the oceans
Slimy chums form deadly alliance to sweep seas
Drones swarm over bearded Brit billionaire's island getaway
Just to take lovely pictures though, after Richard Branson invests in 3D Robotics
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
California blue whale numbers soar to historical levels, say boffins
Still far too many of them being struck by US ships, mind
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.