01 February 2008

Camera placed in mouse brain

Japanese researchers have implanted a small camera inside a mouse's brain to see how memories are formed.

Japanese researchers have implanted a small camera inside a mouse's brain to see how memory is formed, in an experiment they hope to some day apply to humans to treat illnesses such as Parkinson's disease.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods and "Sensors and Actuators", used a camera 3 mm (0.1 inch) long, 2.3 mm wide and 2.4 mm in depth, said Jun Ohta, professor at Nara Institute of Science and Technology in western Japan.

Working with researchers at Kinki University, Ohta implanted the special semiconductor camera inside the hippocampus of the mouse's brain, designing the device so that a screen showed blue light whenever the camera captured memory being recorded by the brain.

The researchers injected the mouse with a substance that lights up whenever there is brain activity. The camera then captures that light and the visuals come up on a screen.

The team now plans to use the camera while the mouse is walking.

"We are thinking about how to apply this to humans, though we must be very careful, as it involves implanting something into the brain," Ohta told Reuters. "It would take 10 years at the earliest."

The researchers hope the study will lead to new ways to treat Parkinson's disease, as they aim to have the camera track brain activity that triggers symptoms such as tremors. – (Reuters Health)

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February 2008




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