Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Eavesdropping on Neuron Conversations

Electrophysiology, although complicated, is one way to monitor activity of neurons. A team of researchers from MIT has developed an instrument dubbed the Autopatcher that has increased the success rate of this type of study. One of their goals is to obtain whole-cell recordings from multiple neurons at one time. Of course this opens up all manner of possibilities. As researcher Ed Boyden put it, “This opens up the possibility of observing networks of cells interacting at the level of individual neurons. We can eavesdrop on [cells] as they talk to each other, or send one thing to a cell and see how it affects the next cell.” I started thinking about what some of those conversations among neurons in my own brain might be like—and started laughing out loud. Pay attention to your own internal self-talk (neurons conversing with each other). What are they saying? If their conversation isn’t helping you accomplish what you want to accomplish, tell them what you want to have them talk about. Tell them how to say it. What fun!


No comments: