Saturday, June 03, 2006

Brain and computer chips advance

For the first time, scientists at the Max-Planck Institute for Biochemistry coupled living brain tissue to a chip equivalent to the chips that run computers, according to a report inJournal of Neurophysiology.

The scientists developed a revolutionary noninvasive technique that enables them to record neural communication between thousands of nervecells in the tissue of a brain slice with high spatial resolution. This technique involves culturing razor-thin slices of the hippocampus region on semiconductor chips.

The biophysicists were able to visualize the influence of pharmaceutical compounds on the neural network. This makes the “brain-chip” a novel test system for brain and drug research.