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article imageNew way of watching 'neurons in action' (video)

By Tim Sandle     May 24, 2014 in Science
Researchers have imaged the electrical impulses of a worm and in the zebrafish nervous system. It is hoped that the pioneering technology could be used soon to show activity in the human brain.
Scientists have simultaneously imaged the activity of all 302 neurons of a worm called C. elegans, showing how quickly nervous impulses traverse the worm. According to Nature News, the team also used the technique to image the brains of transparent zebrafish larvae.
The new results represent the first time that the activity of an organism’s entire nervous system has been viewed in real time. The method involves engineering neurons to light up when firing.
To achieve this imaging success, according to the research note, neuroscientist Alipasha Vaziri of the University of Vienna and his colleagues turned to light-field deconvolution microscopy, which yields 3–D images based on images from a set of tiny lenses. With up to 50 images per second, the researchers captured real-time neural activity of the brain, ventral cord, and tail as each worm performed natural behaviors such as crawling. This is shown in the video below:
In the longer-term, the researchers hope to visualize activity across individual neurons, tracking activity in the neuronal bodies, dendrites, and axons, in the human brain.
The findings have been published in the journal Nature Methods, in a paper titled "Simultaneous whole-animal 3D imaging of neuronal activity using light-field microscopy."
More about Neurons, Brain, Imaging, Worms, Zebrafish
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