Berlin researchers can explain how local information is stored and transported in the brain
This morning, shortly after waking up: did I first go to the bathroom and then turned on the coffee machine in the kitchen—or vice versa? Sometimes you are uncertain whether you have followed an everyday routine as usual or not.
Jorge Jaramillo, first author of the study
Jorge Jaramillo, 2014
The brain has a certain mechanism of storing sequences of spatial events. Part of this mechanism can now be explained by a reasearch team headed by Professor Richard Kempter at the Bernstein Center Berlin and the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin.
The study, entitled: "Modeling Inheritance of phase precession in the hippocampal formation", has been published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Using a computer model, the scientists are able to predict how some nerve cells may stimulate specific neurons in other brain regions to fire in a specific rhythm.
To analyze how the rhythm comes about, the researchers simulated the behavior of nerve cells in the diverse brain regions on the computer. The result of their model: the rhythm may be passed on from one region to the next and does not need to emerge individually in the respective areas.
"Spatial sequences, such as walking routes, are processed in the hippocampus," says Jorge Jaramillo, first author of the study. The hippocampus is a structure in the mammalian brain, which is crucial for the explicit memory (facts, events, sequences). Here are neurons, which are responsible for the so-called "place field": They fire when we find ourselves at a particular point in space.
"If we measure the entire brain activity using EEG (electroencephalography), you see very typical activity oscillations in the hippocampus, the so-called theta rhythm." Nerve cells that are in the process of encoding spatial information start to fire offset in time to this rhythm. This process creates a complex spatial-temporal pattern of electrical brain activity in the brain, which has an important role in the storage of spatial information. The phase-shifted rhythm has been observed in different subregions of the hippocampus – until now it had been unclear how it arises in the individual areas.
"Ultimately, it allows us to better understand other aspects of memory too, not only spatial, as the basic principles are similar," says Jaramillo.
The Bernstein Center Berlin is part of the National Bernstein Network Computational Neuroscience in Germany. With this funding initiative, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has supported the new discipline of Computational Neuroscience since 2004 with over 180 million Euros. The network is named after the German physiologist Julius Bernstein (1835-1917).
Prof. Dr. Richard Kempter
Department of Biology
Institute for Theoretical Biology (ITB)
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Philippstr. 13, Building number 4 (Ostertaghaus)
Tel: +49 (0)30-2093-98404
J. Jaramillo, R. Schmidt, R. Kempter (2014): Modeling Inheritance of Phase Precession in the Hippocampal Formation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 34(22): 7715 – 7731.
Quasi-sexual gene transfer drives genetic diversity of hot spring bacteria
29.05.2015 | Carnegie Institution
Scientists use unmanned aerial vehicle to study gray whales from above
29.05.2015 | NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Many joining and cutting processes are possible only with lasers. New technologies make it possible to manufacture metal components with hollow structures that are significantly lighter and yet just as stable as solid components. In addition, lasers can be used to combine various lightweight construction materials and steels with each other. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen is presenting a range of such solutions at the LASER World of Photonics trade fair from June 22 to 25, 2015 in Munich, Germany, (Hall A3, Stand 121).
Lightweight construction materials are popular: aluminum is used in the bodywork of cars, for example, and aircraft fuselages already consist in large part of...
Using ultrashort laser pulses, scientists in Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have demonstrated the emission of extreme ultraviolet radiation from thin dielectric films and have investigated the underlying mechanisms.
In 1961, only shortly after the invention of the first laser, scientists exposed silicon dioxide crystals (also known as quartz) to an intense ruby laser to...
The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.
Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
29.05.2015 | Life Sciences
29.05.2015 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy