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> Connectomics- mapping brain connections
dKav
post Jul 16, 2013, 02:49 PM
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There is a debate as to whether mapping brain connections on the microscale with electron microscopy is a worthy undertaking.

I think it will be awesome and comparable to sequencing a genome. Once we map brain connections in diseased brains we can compare them to normal, compare mice to monkeys and eventually to humans in diseased and normal states and young vs old.

Does anyone think for example: a project to map the brain of a an ape is worth pouring billions of dollars into; why/not ? ..and how will all the knowledge of brain wiring during pathological conditions translate into therapeutics?

Requirements:
1. Faster methods of imaging brain slices with an electron microscope
2. Machine learning computers to trace out all the connections at synapses from those images
3. Capacity to store potentially many zetabytes of imaging and analysis data

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Dennis Sedov
post Jul 25, 2013, 12:20 PM
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I have been thinking about this for quite some time. Blue Brain is a great example, so is the Big Brain project.
Diving into computational neuroscience more an more I came to a conclusion that, perhaps, those projects are very useful from topological point of view. We can learn a great deal from it, however, we cannot reconstruct a computational model of the brain out of this data, at least not a functional model. Each neuron has physical properties based on it's structure, amount of ion channels, width of axon etc that compute action potentials out of signals they receive. Besides a difficulty of distinguishing inhibitory signals from excitatory signals in a dead brain, it's close to impossible to reconstruct integration function of those post-senaptic potentials into a new potential and how it would propagate over the axon.
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Flex
post Jul 25, 2013, 01:18 PM
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I would tell you my idea, but I have to patent it first smile.gif

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Dennis Sedov
post Jul 26, 2013, 01:10 AM
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QUOTE(Flex @ Jul 25, 2013, 01:18 PM) *

I would tell you my idea, but I have to patent it first smile.gif


So much for open scientific society =)
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Flex
post Aug 05, 2013, 08:50 PM
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http://www.csne-erc.org/

I think the brain mapping is going to be HUGE for this sort of application. Who knows what will be uncovered in the process.

My idea is actually just to use carbon nanotubes as a means to do picosecond spectroscopy on any part of the body, such that all human biochemistry can be nailed down, transition states included. Or possibly unfolded Bucky balls, so as to better fold into any given binding site.
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matthewebbert
post Aug 07, 2013, 01:03 PM
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I think, Connectional maps of the brain may have value in developing models of both how the brain normally works and how it fails when subsets of neurons or synapses are missing or disconnected.
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