Computer model shows how foetal brain wires up for action

February 9th, 2009 - 5:13 pm ICT by ANI  

London, February 9 (ANI): Indiana University researchers in Bloomington have developed a computer model of 1000 neurons, which simulates the way the retina of the eye connects to a region of the mid-brain that controls eye movements, to understand how the foetal brain undergoes the complex process of refining the connections between its different regions.
Project leader Jean-Philippe Thivierge has revealed that the new model shows that weak waves of spontaneous electrical activity over a small number of neurons are the most efficient at forging new connections, rather than big waves that sweep across the whole region.
The researcher further says that timing also proved to be critical, with fluctuations as short as a millisecond instrumental in the wiring process.
As regards the importance of the new model, according to New Scientist magazine, Thivierge said: “It’’s a big challenge to have a system that is ready by the time of birth so that newborns can begin experiencing the world right away.”
A report describing the research teams work has been published in the journal Neural Networks. (ANI)

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