Navigation Links
Can a virtual brain replace lab rats?
Date:2/14/2014

Testing the effects of drugs on a simulated brain could lead to breakthrough treatments for neurological disorders such as Parkinson's, Huntington's and Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada hope Spaun, the world's largest functioning model of the brain, will be used to test new drugs that lead to medical breakthroughs for brain disorders.

Terrence Stewart, a post-doctoral researcher with the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience at Waterloo and project manager for Spaun, will tell an audience at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Chicago about the advantages of using whole-brain simulation as a tool to aid new discoveries in medicine.

"Our hope is that you could try out different possible treatments quickly to see how the brain reacts and how each one changes behaviour before testing them in people," said Stewart. "Our brain model offers a new way to test treatments. For Alzheimer's disease or a stroke that causes memory loss, we could see how a new drug affects the firing pattern of individual brain cells and measure how it changes brain performance on memory tests before trying it on people."

Stewart's team has already made progress simulating Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. Their next step is to simulate Alzheimer's disease after giving Spaun a hippocampus, the brain region involved in forming new memories.

Spaun is more like the human brain than other computer brain models because it makes mistakes and loses abilities in similar ways to people. To simulate the cognitive decline associated with aging, for example, Stewart and his team killed off neurons in the brain model and observed it gradually forgetting more numbers on a memory test.

To reproduce movement problems associated with Huntington's disease and damage to the cerebellum, Stewart damaged parts of the simulated brain affected by those conditions.

"We showed that errors made in reaching behaviour seen in people with those disorders correspond to the errors made by our brain model when neurons in the affected brain regions are damaged," he said.

Spaun can see, remember, think and write using a mechanical arm. Most importantly, this virtual brain which mimics the neuron firing patterns seen in the human brain allows the researchers to study and understand how damage to individual cells affects the behaviour of the whole brain in different neurological diseases.


'/>"/>

Contact: Nick Manning
nmanning@uwaterloo.ca
226-929-7627
University of Waterloo
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers hit virtual heads to make safer games
2. Virtual skin model reveals secrets of skin aging
3. Amazon River exhales virtually all carbon taken up by rain forest
4. Virtual patient advocate delivers preconception care to improve pregnancy outcomes
5. Virtual, squishy creatures evolve to run using evolutionary algorithms
6. Virtual vehicle vibrations
7. UT Dallas researchers pushing the boundaries of virtual reality
8. Virtual women reveal more skin, regardless of body proportions
9. U of M to lead international virtual institute studying climatic and human effects on Earth
10. VirtualScopics Schedules Third Quarter 2012 Earnings Announcement
11. University of Tennessee Space Institute researchers make clinical trials a virtual reality
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2017)... April 19, 2017 The global ... landscape is marked by the presence of several large ... held by five major players - 3M Cogent, NEC ... accounted for nearly 61% of the global military biometric ... in the global military biometrics market boast global presence, ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM Market ... Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast ... from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by 2022, ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ... appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards ... Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive ... their guidance and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/22/2017)... ... September 22, 2017 , ... Precision Periodontics ... offering LANAP® and LAPIP™ laser treatments. Drs. Hoge and Zalewsky are members of ... minimally invasive and less painful option that produces real results. , "Like many ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... which includes executive, engineering and manufacturing functions to The LaunchPort™ Accelerator at the ... provide a full range of manufacturing and business services to its Residents. ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... ... September 21, 2017 , ... Colpitts ... relaunch of the portal includes new features that facilitate streamlined and compliant communication, ... to remain at the forefront of medical advancements, they rely on efficiencies to ...
(Date:9/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... September 21, 2017 , ... ... bright neon green this month, the response was swift and efficient thanks to ... RRWQG ). RRWQG is made up of more than 50 stakeholders, including officials ...
Breaking Biology Technology: