Posts tagged rat

Culturing memory from cultured braincells?

It’s as if the innate ability of braincells themselves realize their function, even when re-purposed and displaced into another suitable environment altogether.

Memory. We experience it each passing nanosecond of our lives, yet it remains an indefinable enigma. Fascinating.

A fluorescent image of the neural network model developed at Pitt reveals the interconnection (red) between individual brain cells (blue). Adhesive proteins (green) allow the network to be constructed on silicon discs for experimentation. Ashwin Vishwanathan, Guo-Qiang Bi and Henry C. Zeringue, University of Pittsburgh

It’s not artificial intelligence in the Turing test sense, but the technicolor ring you see above is actually an artificial microbrain, derived from rat brain cells–just 40 to 60 neurons in total–that is capable of about 12 seconds of short-term memory.

Developed by a team at the University of Pittsburgh, the brain was created in an attempt to artificially nurture a working brain into existence so that researchers could study neural networks and how our brains transmit electrical signals and store data so efficiently. The did so by attaching a layer of proteins to a silicon disk and adding brain cells from embryonic rats that attached themselves to the proteins and grew to connect with one another in the ring seen above.

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