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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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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience

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