Here at Neuron News we will preach until the End of Days and beyond that it’s all about the network when it comes to fully understanding brain function. This knowledge will thereby lead to someday better understanding how to develop neuron devices that directly interconnect with the brain.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology recently reported on their observations of how versatile and amazing our neuron networks actually are, and how powerful the system really can be when trauma strikes.
After a literal tear in the retina, the research group watched as the remaining neurons, who lost their original network connections, re-wired to other neurons in the system with up to three-times the amount of brand-new interconnectivity. The network compensated for its breakdown, and re-worked itself to attempt to regain new functionality.
The observation of this sort of restructuring activity in an adult brain is extremely exciting for further research into efforts to help patients recover after serious brain injuries. Even more so, this network adaptability is key to understanding how to best design and develop cultured neuron networks in ways that will most likely and most successfully connect with a host brain.
Just throwing a plate of neurons onto a host brain is not quite enough to create a useful and functional neuron device; we must have a deep understanding of how neurons network themselves and how we might tailor the cultured devices to better link in with the brain. If this form of “hyper-networking” is a result of neurons sensing a local trauma, then we might even be able to manipulate stronger, more complex interconnections between device and brain by introducing faux “traumas” in the cultured neuron networks of implanted devices.
Let our readers know what you think by responding after reading the following articles.
“Neighbour’s aid for jobless nerve cells” :: PhysOrg.com :: September 1, 2008 :: [ READ ]
Max Planck Society Press Release – pdf [ READ ]