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Brain Activity Mapping Project aims to understand the brain

Date:
April 3, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The scientific tools are not yet available to build a comprehensive map of the activity in the most complicated 3 pounds of material in the world -- the human brain, scientists say in a newly published article. It describes the technologies that could be applied and developed for the Brain Activity Mapping Project, which aims to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics.

The scientific tools are not yet available to build a comprehensive map of the activity in the most complicated 3 pounds of material in the world -- the human brain, scientists say in a newly published article. It describes the technologies that could be applied and developed for the Brain Activity Mapping (BAM) Project, which aims to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics. Published in the journal ACS Nano, the article describes how BAM could bring new understanding of how the brain works and possibly lead to treatments of clinical depression, autism, schizophrenia, Parkinson's and other brain diseases.

Three American Chemical Society journal editors, A. Paul Alivisatos, Anne M. Andrews and Paul S. Weiss, combine with Sotiris Masmanidis, Axel Scherer, Rafael Yuste, and several prominent nanoscientists and neuroscientists to explain that the human brain has eluded the kind of detailed understanding that exists for the heart, lungs and other organs. The reason lies in the brain's complexity -- with on the order of 80 billion neurons, 100 trillion synapses that interconnect those cells into networks and 100 neurotransmitters that carry signals across those synapses. Until now, scientists have been able to study the activities of only a handful of neurons at the same time -- leaving gaps in knowledge as to how they interact to make thoughts and memories, or malfunction in brain diseases.

The article describes how advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology over the last decade are poised to develop the tools required for greater understanding of the brain at this important scale. Since the parts of the brain work at the nanoscale, such tools are ideally suited for probing the pieces, but must be put together to understand thought, perception, consciousness, and health and disease -- which result from networking among thousands or hundreds of thousands of neurons. "We hope that the BAM Project will bring the last decade's national and international investments in science, technology, and people in nanoscience and nanotechnology to bear on important and challenging problems in brain science," the scientists and engineers say.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Kavli Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. Paul Alivisatos, Anne M. Andrews, Edward S. Boyden, Miyoung Chun, George M. Church, Karl Deisseroth, John P. Donoghue, Scott E. Fraser, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Loren L. Looger, Sotiris Masmanidis, Paul L. McEuen, Arto V. Nurmikko, Hongkun Park, Darcy S. Peterka, Clay Reid, Michael L. Roukes, Axel Scherer, Mark Schnitzer, Terrence J. Sejnowski, Kenneth L. Shepard, Doris Tsao, Gina Turrigiano, Paul S. Weiss, Chris Xu, Rafael Yuste, Xiaowei Zhuang. Nanotools for Neuroscience and Brain Activity Mapping. ACS Nano, 2013; 7 (3): 1850 DOI: 10.1021/nn4012847

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Brain Activity Mapping Project aims to understand the brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130403104222.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2013, April 3). Brain Activity Mapping Project aims to understand the brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130403104222.htm
American Chemical Society. "Brain Activity Mapping Project aims to understand the brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130403104222.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

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