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RIC study suggests researchers are entering a new era of advances in brain research
Date:1/26/2011

CHICAGO (January 26) Scientists at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), designated the "#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America" by U.S. News & World Report since 1991, report that, thanks to improvements in technology and data analysis, our understanding of the functional principles that guide the development and operation of the brain could improve drastically in the next few years. The advances could herald a neuroscientific revolution, much as increasing processor speeds paved the way for the computing revolution of the last half century.

In the February, 2011 issue of Nature Neuroscience, the researchers, Dr. Ian H. Stevenson and Dr. Konrad P. Kording, performed a meta-analysis of 56 studies conducted since the 1950s (the advent of multi-electrode recordings) in which the activity of neurons was recorded in animals or humans. They found that the number of simultaneously recorded single neurons has grown exponentially since the 1950s, doubling approximately every seven years.

The researchers likened the progress in neuronal recording techniques to Moore's law, which describes the exponential growth of processing speed that has doubled approximately every two years, making computers smaller and technology accessible to more people.

"As it becomes easier for us to access and interpret information coming from the brain, we will be able to better help those with disabilities and conditions of the nervous system," said Dr. Kording. "Our goal is to take what we are learning about how and why the brain works so we can quickly and successfully use it to help patients. By decoding how neurons communicate with each other, we may one day be able to restore connections by conditioning different neurons to talk to each other, or to talk to each other in different ways, thereby restoring ability in our patients."

The "firing" or "spiking" of a neuron is really a signal sent along a gradient to other neurons and through
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Contact: Bob Szafranski
bob.szafranski@edelman.com
312-240-2687
Edelman Public Relations
Source:Eurekalert

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