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New brain imaging methods help detect giant, superconnected neurons such as this one (in a mouse’s brain)

A Giant Neuron Has Been Found Wrapped Around the Entire Circumference of the Brain (Science Alert):

“For the first time, scientists have detected a giant neuron wrapped around the entire circumference of a mouse’s brain, and it’s so densely connected across both hemispheres, it could finally explain the origins of consciousness.

Using a new imaging technique, the team detected the giant neuron emanating from one of the best-connected regions in the brain, and say it could be coordinating signals from different areas to create conscious thought…At a recent meeting of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies initiative in Maryland, a team from the Allen Institute for Brain Science described how all three neurons stretch across both hemispheres of the brain, but the largest one wraps around the organ’s circumference like a “crown of thorns”.

You can see them highlighted in the image at the top of the page.

Study: Organization of the connections between claustrum and cortex in the mouse. (The Journal of Comparative Neurology)

  • From the abstract: The connections between the claustrum and the cortex in mouse are systematically investigated with adeno-associated virus (AAV), an anterograde viral tracer…Our quantitative results show that the claustrum has strong reciprocal and bilateral connections with prefrontal and cingulate areas as well as strong reciprocal connections with the ipsilateral temporal and retrohippocampal areas, suggesting that it may play a crucial role in a variety of cognitive processes.

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