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High-speed microscope captures fleeting brain signals

Electrical and chemical signals flash through our brains constantly as we move through the world, but it would take a high-speed camera and a window into the brain to capture their fleeting paths. University of California, Berkeley, investigators have now built such a camera: a microscope that can image the brain of an alert mouse 1,000 times a second, recording for the first time the passage of millisecond electrical pulses through neurons.

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March 24, 2020
Stephen Mraz
A team of scientists at Berkeley's Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute has made a breakthrough in brain imaging with a camera that can image the brain of an alert mouse at a rate of 3,000 frames per second. The strategy will help doctors look for neural transmission problems in brain disorders. "In diseases, many things are happening, even before you can see neurons firing, like all the subthreshold events," says associate physics professor Na Ji, one of the team members. "We've never looked at how a disease will change with subthreshold input. Now, we have a handle to address that." Professor Ji says that one of their goals is to learn how neurons interact over large areas of the brain, so they can eventually locate diseased circuits.
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