Why Measure Neuronal Activity

In order to understand how the hippocampus processes the information it receives, and to compare how the aged hippocampus does this differently from the young one, one useful technique has been to study brain in action. The brain represents information by activating networks of neurons, and each piece of information will be represented by a different network of neurons. It is therefore keenly interesting to identify which neurons are active at which times. By placing extracellular electrodes near the soma of cells inside the brain, it is possible to record the action potentials of neurons as they communicate with one another through changes in electric potentials. The great advantage of this technique is that we can monitor cell activity while the animal is awake and even performing a task. By providing a window to when neurons are active, single cell recordings have given unique insight into what information is processed within particular brain regions. In other words, by knowing when action potentials occur (to the nearest tenths of a millisecond), we can ask how this activity relates to what the animal was doing at that particular time. Much of our understanding of the function of a particular brain region has come from this window into the brain's activity. For example, single-cell recordings have made enormous contributions to our understanding of how each region of the visual cortex contributes to vision— from responses in the primary visual cortex to precisely oriented lines to responses in the inferior temporal cortex to particular classes of objects.

Blood Pressure Health

Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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