Navigation Links
Weizmann Institute scientists create working artificial nerve networks
Date:1/28/2009

Scientists have already hooked brains directly to computers by means of metal electrodes, in the hope of both measuring what goes on inside the brain and eventually healing conditions such as blindness or epilepsy. In the future, the interface between brain and artificial system might be based on nerve cells grown for that purpose. In research that was recently featured on the cover of Nature Physics, Prof. Elisha Moses of the Physics of Complex Systems Department and his former research students Drs. Ofer Feinerman and Assaf Rotem have taken the first step in this direction by creating circuits and logic gates made of live nerves grown in the lab.

When neurons brain nerve cells are grown in culture, they don't form complex 'thinking' networks. Moses, Feinerman and Rotem wondered whether the physical structure of the nerve network could be designed to be more brain-like. To simplify things, they grew a model nerve network in one dimension only by getting the neurons to grow along a groove etched in a glass plate. The scientists found they could stimulate these nerve cells using a magnetic field (as opposed to other systems of lab-grown neurons that only react to electricity).

Experimenting further with the linear set-up, the group found that varying the width of the neuron stripe affected how well it would send signals. Nerve cells in the brain are connected to great numbers of other cells through their axons (long, thin extensions), and they must receive a minimum number of incoming signals before they fire one off in response. The researchers identified a threshold thickness, one that allowed the development of around 100 axons. Below this number, the chance of a response was iffy, while just a few over this number greatly raised the chance a signal would be passed on.

The scientists then took two thin stripes of around 100 axons each and created a logic gate similar to one in an electronic computer. Both of these 'wires' were connected to a small number of nerve cells. When the cells received a signal along just one of the 'wires,' the outcome was uncertain; but a signal sent along both 'wires' simultaneously was assured of a response. This type of structure is known as an AND gate. The next structure the team created was slightly more complex: Triangles fashioned from the neuron stripes were lined up in a row, point to rib, in a way that forced the axons to develop and send signals in one direction only. Several of these segmented shapes were then attached together in a loop to create a closed circuit. The regular relay of nerve signals around the circuit turned it into a sort of biological clock or pacemaker.

Moses: 'We have been able to enforce simplicity on an inherently complicated system. Now we can ask, 'What do nerve cells grown in culture require in order to be able to carry out complex calculations?' As we find answers, we get closer to understanding the conditions needed for creating a synthetic, many-neuron 'thinking' apparatus.'


'/>"/>

Contact: Yivsam Azgad
news@weizmann.ac.il
972-893-43856
Weizmann Institute of Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Weizmann Institute scientists produce the first smell map
2. Weizmann Institute scientists develop a new approach to treating autoimmune disease
3. Weizmann Institute scientists discover how an injured embryo can regenerate itself
4. Weizmann Institute scientists new technique gets to the root of cancer
5. The Risk Management and Patient Safety Institute Announces Annual Health Care Risk Conference Dates
6. Mayo Clinic Multidisciplinary Simulation Center Receives Distinction as an ACS-Accredited Education Institute
7. LifeNet Health Establishes The Skin & Wound Allograft Institute
8. Statement from Employment Policies Institute on Senator Hillary Clintons Health Care Plan
9. CAS Medical Systems, Inc. Awarded $2.8 Million Grant by National Institutes of Health
10. Portico Systems to Share Provider Network Management Best Practices at Institute for International Research
11. The Integrated Benefits Institute Offers Largest Benchmarking Database in U.S. Spanning Disability and Workers Compensation Programs
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... , ... Steve Helwig & Associates Insurance & Financial, serving the families of ... up with Citizens Opposed to Domestic Abuse in support of its efforts to provide ... victimized by the fear of violence in their own homes, donations may now be ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... Remember the old saying “rub some ... to Perry A~, author of “Calcium Bentonite Clay” the health benefits of integrating clay ... and detoxifying the body. , A former motivational speaker, Perry A~ has since dedicated ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... The Association of Home ... and the Home Health and Hospice ICD-10 Transition Workgroup are working closely with ... guidance and clarifications, to address concerns over the use of 'A' as the ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... According to research ... U.S. require dental technicians to be certified or obtain continuing education. To increase ... the “What’s In Your Mouth?” campaign to inform dentists and patients about the ...
(Date:2/6/2016)... ... February 06, 2016 , ... ... , MEDIA ADVISORY: 5000 PERIOPERATIVE NURSES EXPECTED AT AORN SURGICAL CONFERENCE & ... nurses in the world with an estimated 5000 perioperative nurses in attendance ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/8/2016)... NORRITON, Pa. , Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... of November Research Group (NRG),s pharmacovigilance technology ... pharmacovigilance system-related consulting services and an Oracle Argus ... compliance services to Life Sciences companies. ... strengthens and expands HighPoint,s life sciences capabilities and ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... , Switzerland and PALO ALTO, Calif. , ... biological and chemical manufacturing, and Kodiak Sciences Inc., a ... treatment of retinal disease, announced today agreements for the ... Lonza will manufacture material at multiple sites, including Slough ... --> --> Retinal diseases, such ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... , Feb. 8, 2016  Avista Pharma Solutions ("Avista ... Setzer as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Mr. Setzer is ... of experience in various roles within growing technology and ... served as the Executive Director of Finance at INC ... Raleigh, NC . Previously, Mr. Setzer served ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: