Scientists to stick a needle in the brain, thinking that the needles do with the brain

in the field of neuroscience research is surprisingly brutal - many of the things that we have learned about the brain, we have learned by simply opening the body and poking it with anything. Occupation is definitely not for the squeamish. The best tool for this? Most often it is the electrodes - probes in the form of needles, which are introduced into the brain. The scientists used electrodes to measure the behavior of individual cells in the brain, giving people control their prosthetic limbs or to develop new technologies that directly interact with the brain. However, the question remains: is it at all safe?

Scientists to stick a needle in the brain, thinking that the needles do with the brain

A few days ago in the Journal of Neural Engineering published an article devoted to the feasibility of using electrodes in brain research. It neuroscientists say that the study of the brain by neural electrodes can cause a lot of problems. Some of these problems are relatively simple and can be solved by improving the technology. For example, the electrode surface which comes in contact with the brain, stimulating brain activity or registers may break or slide - especially in a patient in consciousness.

This leads to erroneous entries; leaky electrode will register cell signal, which is not active, or give a weaker signal than it actually is. Since we can not always say why (or even if) this happens, scientists may be difficult to explain or support their conclusions. But the biggest problem faced by the team is associated with the fact that we really know very little about the brain. In particular, we know little about how the brain tissue react to contact with the electrode and its impact. Neuroscientists have spent a lot of experiments on the brain cells that are killed or damaged when inserting the electrode.

Making, in fact, not so much. The article proposes to focus on the areas of the visual cortex. Scientists could understand, whether alive cells studied by them, if the object of their research will be to look at the image and watch the response of the cells.

But even in this case, the scientists came to the conclusion that our technologies have come to the limits of what we actually know about the brain. To neuroscientists were able to gain confidence in their experimental findings, they will have to invest in a solution of basic questions about how the brain responds to the electrodes and other technological interventions.