There are 86 billion neurons in the human brain and no two of them are exactly alike. If doctors and drugmakers ever hope to develop cures for neurological disorders like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, autism, or Parkinson’s disease, they’ll first need to understand how each of these very different brain cells work together to build our memories, steer our actions, and preserve our sense of self.
The Allen Institute for Brain Science has been working on just such a “periodic table” of human brain cell types and recently released the first data on 300 human neurons, complete with 3D reconstructions of 100 brain cells and detailed information about each neuron’s unique electrical signature. The data was collected from living human brain tissue that was raced to a lab after surgeries at nearby hospitals.
Recent advances in lab technology will soon allow Allen Institute researchers to […] scan living neurons for RNA data at the same time that they record electrical signatures and capture 3D cell models. The work will still have to be done one cell at a time.
Neuron by neuron, a comprehensive periodic chart of the human brain is being built for all the research world to share.
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