New technique lets you capture entire brain’s activity in a snapshot

Washington: A team of researchers at Rockefeller University has come up with a new technique that can capture a detailed snapshot of global activity in the mouse brain.

Study author Nicolas Renier of the Rockefeller University said that they wanted to develop a technique that would show the level of activity at the precision of a single neuron, but at the scale of the whole brain.

The new method takes a picture of all the active neurons in the brain at a specific time. The mouse brain contains dozens of millions of neurons and a typical image depicts the activity of approximately one million neurons, said Marc Tessier-Lavigne. “The purpose of the technique is to accelerate our understanding of how the brain works.”

Co-author Eliza Adams noted that they cannot visualize live brain activity over time because of this technique, but they get a comprehensive view of most neurons in the brain and the ability to compare these active neuronal populations between snapshots in a robust and unbiased manner.

The technique also has broader implications than simply looking at what areas of the mouse brain are active in different situations, he adds. It could be used to map brain activity in response to any biological change, such as the spread of a drug or disease, or even to explore how the brain makes decisions. “You can use the same strategy to map anything you want in the mouse brain,” says Renier.

The study appears in journal Cell. (ANI)