HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Even at small scales, the big decisions are made at the water cooler

When a group of people tries to decide how to carry out an important task, it is sometimes said that the pivotal discussions do not happen in large, well-attended meetings, but in one-on-one conversations around the water cooler.

It turns out that among individual neurons in our brains, the same may hold true.

Likening the process to the sort of casual conversations one might have at a cocktail party, William Bialek and his research team have found that retinal ganglion cells, the nerve cells along the back of our eyes that transmit visual signals to the brain, organize their actions based on communications they have with other individual cells rather than on group-style discussions. The findings, derived from experiments with and mathematical models of groups of 40 cells in the retinas of salamanders, could shed light on how brain cells work as a team.

"We have found that it is possible to understand the group behavior of neural cells based solely on knowledge of these pair interactions," said Bialek, the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics at Princeton. "From these pair-wise communications, a consensus emerges as to what message will be sent from the eye to the brain. But it comes from many small discussions, not one large one."

The research paper, which Bialek wrote with Princeton colleagues Michael Berry, Ronen Segev and Elad Schneidman, appears in today's (April 20) edition of the journal Nature.

"By eavesdropping on the 'conversations' of individual nerve cells, these researchers learned to predict how small groups of nerve cells in the eye would behave," said Dr. C. John Whitmarsh, a biophysicist at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which partially supported the work. "This really is a fantastic result, and could help us understand how brain cells work together to make decisions."

Retinal ganglion cells have often shed light on the workings of the brain, since the ganglion
'"/>

Contact: Chad Boutin
cboutin@princeton.edu
609-258-5729
Princeton University
20-Apr-2006


Page: 1 2 3 4

Related biology news :

1. Is nutrient loading a smaller problem than we think?
2. Consumption of small amounts of dark chocolate associated with reduction in blood pressure
3. A small leak will sink a great ship
4. Fever after smallpox vaccination tied to individual genetic variations
5. University of Liverpool launches 10 million small animal teaching hospital
6. Study shows big power of small RNAs, not just proteins, in halting cancer
7. New algorithms classify outcomes of nonsmall cell lung cancer patients
8. Cisplatin is more effective than carboplatin for treating nonsmall cell lung cancer
9. Innovative smallpox vaccine research study to be conducted at Case Medical Center
10. Enzyme delivered in smaller package protects cells from radiation damage
11. Why small dogs are small

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/13/2017)... 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and Manufacturing event ... emerging and evolving technology through its 3D Printing and ... alongside the expo portion of the event and feature ... focused on trending topics within 3D printing and smart ... event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the Jacob ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 No two people are ... the New York University Tandon School of Engineering ... found that partial similarities between prints are common ... mobile phones and other electronic devices can be ... vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... USDM Life Sciences , the leading ... healthcare industries, is pleased to announce Holger Braemer as Vice President of ... GmbH” based in Germany. , Braemer is an integral part of USDM’s expansion ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... , ... Parallel6™ , the leader in mClinical™ technologies for improving patient ... one of the 2017 Top 10 eClinical Trial Management Solution Providers by Pharma ... “We take pride in honoring Parallel6 as one of the top 10 companies that ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... ... April 18, 2017 , ... The Vibrating Orifice Aerosol Generator ... generating monodisperse droplets of known diameters for research applications such as for calibrating ... by drying monodisperse droplets. , The VOAG requires forcing liquid out of ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , ... April 19, 2017 , ... ... Series A-1 financing round. This event adds to several other early achievements at ... Executive and Scientific Teams. , ThermaGenix will use proceeds from the ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: