General, Research, Technology

Scientists have created a very complex virtual model of a part of the rat brain

For many years, scientists had to resort toautopsy to study the anatomy of a living organism. Even today, doctors often have to dissect organs and other parts of their bodies in order to understand how they work. However, thanks to the development of technology, such experiments can soon move into virtual reality.

In the scientific journal Cell, October 8th wasan article has been published describing how a team of researchers from the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne is working on the Blue Brain project, whose key task is to create a virtual copy of part of the rat brain. The digital version of the rodent's brain is still far from complete, but after 10 years of work on this project, scientists say with confidence that they are ready to provide the first results.

As part that scientists recreated invirtual reality, a whole department of neocortex was chosen. Researchers want to reconstruct each individual neuron and neural connection, so it took them almost ten years to create just one model. Nevertheless, work has progressed, and the researchers showed some results this week. A virtual copy contains 31,000 neurons of 207 different types located on 55 layers of the virtual part of the rodent's brain. In addition, it contains about 40 million synapses and 2000 connections between cells. And, as Science Daily notes, neurons behave differently here, receiving and giving signals depending on their type, as if it were part of a real brain department.

It should be noted that this integrated virtualthe system is only a brain reconstruction. Moreover, this is an inferior replica. The real brain is much more complex than this model, which in turn could explain why scientists are still figuring out how this organ actually works.

“Reconstruction requires countless experiments,” the scientists explain.

So at the moment looks like a virtual reconstruction of the rat brain neocortex

"However, it allows you to determine the location, number and even the volume of the ion discharge passing through all 40 million recreated synapses."

Researchers from the Federal PolytechnicLausanne schools believe that virtual copies of the brain can simplify the study of the anatomy and physiology of this very complex organ. In addition, scientists say that virtual models can even be used to identify potential effects that occur after the use of new developed drugs.

“Titanic efforts at the momentundertaken to determine all the different types of neurons in the brain and measure their electrical properties, as well as to determine the chains that connect them to each other. These efforts allow us to look at the structure and logic of the brain “wiring”, ”scientists explain the importance of their work.