Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Brain research by PolyU and CAS published in Nature journals

24.09.2009
A neuroscience research jointly conducted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Chinese Academy of Science has led to the discovery of the novelty detection mechanism in the gateway to the cerebral cortex.

A neuroscience research jointly conducted by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) has led to the discovery of a previously unknown feature of the human brain - the novelty detection mechanism in the gateway to the cerebral cortex. The finding was reported in the latest issue (September 2009) of Nature Neuroscience and highlighted by Nature (China), both being publications of the Nature Publishing Group.

This sophisticated research was being undertaken at the University's Applied Neuroscience Laboratory by a team led by Prof. He Jufang of PolyU Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and his student and Prof. He Shigang in CAS Institute of Biophysics. The study found that the thalamic reticular neurons which reside in the position as the guardian of the gateway to the cerebral cortex, responded to novel stimulus a lot better than to the repeated stimulus.

The researchers presented a two-tone melody repeatedly to rats during the experiment, pitching the sound mostly at a standard frequency and occasionally at a deviant frequency. This oddball procedure showed that the auditory sector of thalamic reticular neurons - which are inhibitory and control the ascending sensory information in the thalamus - has a deviance preference. The structure has been hypothesized to performing a great role in sensory attention.

The present finding advanced our understanding of its potential roles and the mechanism in attention shift, which could happen across sensory modalities. Malfunction of these neurons might cause attention deficit disorders and tinnitus, the perception of sound within the human ear in the absence of corresponding external sound.

Earlier, the Applied Neuroscience Laboratory has collaborated with Prof. Poo Mu-ming and Zhang Xiaohui of CAS Institute of Neuroscience and made another major finding in the auditory thalamus which was published in The Journal of Neuroscience (May 2009). In that study, they found that the auditory thalamic neurons can respond to sound of low frequency or slow oscillations at frequencies of less than one Hertz. More importantly, the auditory thalamic neurons can pick up and retain the sound beat for a while even after the sound has stopped. This interesting finding has shed new light on the mechanism of attention and understanding the sensitivity of our brains to certain sounds.

In carrying out this study, researchers presented repetitive sound stimuli and analyzed the response of their auditory neurons with sophisticated measuring tools. The study showed that the sensory neurons remained active after termination of the sound stimuli, and even a weak sound could trigger the sustaining response for at least 10 seconds. The study also found that the thalamic neurons responded to rhythmic sound stimuli during slow wave sleep, as confirmed by extracellular recordings. Such effects may help retain the information of stimulus interval in order of seconds.

The principal investigator Prof. He Jufang is one of the leading neuroscientists in the hearing research and thalamocortical system, especially in the corticofugal modulation. With research interest focusing on systems neuroscience, he combines electrophysiological, anatomical and engineering approaches to investigate the fundamental questions of hearing, sleep, learning and memory. Prof. He has recently been named a Croucher Senior Research Fellow 2009 in recognition of distinguished research accomplishment.

The Applied Neuroscience Laboratory was set up by PolyU in 2006 to support research work and investigate fundamental questions in neuroscience. A part of this laboratory in the line of visuo-auditory integration was entitled in 2008 as a Joint-Laboratory between the Chinese Academy of Sciences and PolyU.

Evelyn Chan | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.polyu.edu.hk/
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution
27.03.2017 | Lancaster University

nachricht Parallel computation provides deeper insight into brain function
27.03.2017 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>