[AI] Human brain on a microchip nearly ready
raghavendra.helloreddy at gmail.com
Wed Aug 11 06:39:35 EDT 2010
The human brain on a microchip is almost ready!
Turning into reality of science fiction films such as "The Terminator"
- where machines and men meld into reality - Canadian scientists have
successfully connected brain cells to a silicon chip to "hear"
conversation between brain tissue.
The neuro-chip, which has been developed by medicine scientists at the
University of Calgary, will network brain cells and thus record brain
cell activity at a resolution never achieved before, according to
Naweed Syed who led the team that made the breakthrough.
The neuro-chip will help future understanding of how brain cells work
under normal conditions and thus permit drug discoveries for a variety
of neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, a
university statement said on Tuesday.
"This technical breakthrough means we can track subtle changes in
brain activity at the level of ion channels and synaptic potentials,
which are also the most suitable target sites for drug development in
neuro-degenerative diseases and neuropsychological disorders," Naweed
Syed, who is professor and head of the Department of Cell Biology and
Anatomy, has been quoted as saying.
The new neuro-chips are also automated.
"Previously it took years of training to learn how to record ion
channel activity from brain cells, and it was only possible to monitor
one or two cells simultaneously. Now, larger networks of cells can be
placed on a chip and observed in minute detail, allowing the analysis
of several brain cells networking and performing automatic,
large-scale drug screening for various brain dysfunctions," the
university statement said.
The University of Calgary is excited at the potential of this made in
Canada technology, said university vice president Rose Goldsmith.
"The University of Calgary is proud to be the home of this cutting
edge Canadian work with a neurochip. The advances in research and
healthcare made by possible by this technology are immense. The work
and collaboration happening in the lab of Naweed Syed is another
example demonstrating our leadership in the field of biomedical
The new technology has been published online this month in the
journal, Biomedical Microdevices.
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