Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Neurons out of sync

05.08.2014

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).

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Richard Kempter
Department of Biology
Institute for Theoretical Biology (ITB)
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Philippstr. 13, Building number 4 (Ostertaghaus)
10115 Berlin
Tel: +49 (0)30-2093-98404
Email: r.kempter@biologie.hu-berlin.de

Original publication:
J. Jaramillo, R. Schmidt, R. Kempter (2014): Modeling Inheritance of Phase Precession in the Hippocampal Formation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 34(22): 7715 – 7731.
doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5136-13.2014

Mareike Kardinal | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.bernstein-netzwerk.de
http://www.nncn.de

Further reports about: Bernstein Biology Neuroscience activity measure neurons rhythm sequences spatial

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Moth takes advantage of defensive compounds in Physalis fruits
26.08.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins
26.08.2016 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Streamlining accelerated computing for industry

PyFR code combines high accuracy with flexibility to resolve unsteady turbulence problems

Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...

Im Focus: X-ray optics on a chip

Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.

In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...

Im Focus: Piggyback battery for microchips: TU Graz researchers develop new battery concept

Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.

Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...

Im Focus: UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

Light particle could be key to understanding dark matter in universe

Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...

Im Focus: Wi-fi from lasers

White light from lasers demonstrates data speeds of up to 2 GB/s

A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The energy transition is not possible without Geotechnics

25.08.2016 | Event News

New Ideas for the Shipping Industry

24.08.2016 | Event News

A week of excellence: 22 of the world’s best computer scientists and mathematicians in Heidelberg

12.08.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cleanroom on demand

29.08.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Crystal unclear: Why might this uncanny crystal change laser design?

29.08.2016 | Materials Sciences

Spherical tokamaks could provide path to limitless fusion energy

29.08.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>