Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Umeå physiologists describe a new principle for information coding in the nervous system

20.01.2004


How does the nervous system code, transmit, and process the information that steers our behaviour? Ronald S. Johansson’s research team at Umeå University in Sweden is now publishing its discovery of a new principle for this.



The prevailing view is that information is coded and transmitted by variations in the number of nerve impulses per time unit in the fibres of the nerve cells, that is, as a frequency code.

Johansson’s research team at the Section for Physiology present in the journal Nature Neuroscience a new principle for how information is coded and transmitted in the nervous system. When we manipulate objects, the brain reacts more quickly to the form of the objects and the direction of the contact forces than would be possible with frequency coding of information from the sensory organs of the fingertips. Frequency coding would require that the individual nerve fibre would have time to signal at least two impulses, and to interpret the message the brain needs to monitor signal traffic for a considerable period of time.


The team of scientists is now demonstrating that the information is effectively coded on the basis of the very first nerve impulse occurring in the nerve fibres that are excited when the fingertip contacts objects. The time gap between the first nerve impulses that occur in the signaling nerve fibres convey the information more rapidly that frequency codes­-and fast enough to explain the role of the tactile sense in steering the fine motor movements of the hand.

In experiments carried out on conscious volunteers, signals were registered in individual nerve fibres running from the tactile organs of the fingertips to the spinal cord and brain stem.

In August 2003, Roland S. Johansson published an article in Nature together with a Canadian visiting researcher. It dealt with how the brain can understand the actions of other individuals.

In the new article in Nature Neuroscience, appearing online in January, his co-author is one of his previous doctoral candidates, Ingvars Birznieks, who defended his thesis in 2003 at the Section for Physiology.

Hans Fällman | alfa
Further information:
http://www.umu.se/umu/index_eng.html

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

Im Focus: Dynamik einzelner Proteine

Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen

Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...

Im Focus: Dynamics of individual proteins

New measurement method allows researchers to precisely follow the movement of individual molecules over long periods of time

The function of proteins – the molecular tools of the cell – is governed by the interplay of their structure and dynamics. Advances in electron microscopy have...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

5th International Conference on Cellular Materials (CellMAT), Scientific Programme online

02.10.2018 | Event News

Major Project: The New Silk Road

01.10.2018 | Event News

"Boston calling": TU Berlin and the Weizenbaum Institute organize a conference in USA

21.09.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physics: Not everything is where it seems to be

15.10.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Microfluidic molecular exchanger helps control therapeutic cell manufacturing

15.10.2018 | Life Sciences

Link between Gut Flora and Multiple Sclerosis Discovered

15.10.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>