Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cultured brain cells taught to keep time

Date:
July 19, 2010
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Scientists have tested whether networks of brain cells kept alive in culture could be "trained" to keep time. The findings suggest that networks of brain cells can learn to generate simple timed intervals.

Each trace represents a neuron's voltage in response to a single stimulus at time = 0. Dark colors represent the voltage of neurons at rest, and "hot" colors represent increases in the voltage (depolarization) produced by cell network activity.
Credit: Image courtesy of UCLA

The ability to tell time is fundamental to how humans interact with each other and the world. Timing plays an important role, for example, in our ability to recognize speech patterns and to create music.

Patterns are an essential part of timing. The human brain easily learns patterns, allowing us to recognize familiar patterns of shapes, like faces, and timed patterns, like the rhythm of a song. But exactly how the brain keeps time and learns patterns remains a mystery.

In this three-year study, UCLA scientists attempted to unravel the mystery by testing whether networks of brain cells kept alive in culture could be "trained" to keep time. The team stimulated the cells with simple patterns -- two stimuli separated by different intervals lasting from a twentieth of a second up to half a second.

After two hours of training, the team observed a measurable change in the cellular networks' response to a single input. In the networks trained with a short interval, the network's activity lasted for a short period of time. Conversely, in the networks trained with a long interval, network activity lasted for a longer amount of time.

The UCLA findings are the first to suggest that networks of brain cells in a petri dish can learn to generate simple timed intervals. The research sheds light on how the brain tells time and will enhance scientists' understanding of how the brain works.

The study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hope A Johnson, Anubhuthi Goel, Dean V Buonomano. Neural dynamics of in vitro cortical networks reflects experienced temporal patterns. Nature Neuroscience, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/nn.2579

Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Cultured brain cells taught to keep time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615093246.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2010, July 19). Cultured brain cells taught to keep time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615093246.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Cultured brain cells taught to keep time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100615093246.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins