Researchers at the University of Calgary, in Canada, have developed a neuro chip that enables long-term, high fidelity recordings from brain cells at a resolution 15 times higher than existing setups.According to Pierre Wijdenes and the co-authors of the study, which is published in the journal, Scientific Reports, this new technology could help better understand brain function and offers great opportunities, not only to test different drug compounds and find the best medication that works for a particular patient, but also to develop new drug discovery devices in the future.”So we’re actually getting closer to personal medication in a sense,” said Wijdenes in a news release. However, he added that the new chip is a “baby step” towards developing personalised treatments and warned that this kind of approach is likely still decades away.So far, the scientists have used the chip to take recordings from the neurons of a fresh water snail, Lymnea stagnalis, which provides structurally and functionally well-characterised neurons that are relatively large in size.They isolated individual neurons from the snails, cultured them in the laboratory and placed them on the chip inside an incubator. They then studied their electrophysiological activity over time.According to the researchers, whereas most setups can only record neuronal activity for a few minutes, the new neuro chip allows them to take continuous recordings for several weeks. This means that they can evaluate the effects of different drug compounds on neuronal activity over time.Senior Author Dr Naweed Syed told the Calgary Metro: “We don’t know what goes wrong with conditions like epilepsy. This technology is proof of concept that we can integrate technology with the brain. We are hoping in the future we will be able to use these chips to regain lost brain function.”Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more articles about brain science including genetics.
October 27th, 2016|