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How the brain stores information for short periods of time

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Geplaatst op 31 augustus 2011 - 10:06

How the Brain Stores Information for Short Periods of Time

Freiburg biologist Dr. Aristides Arrenberg and his American colleagues studied mechanisms used by the brain to store information for a short period of time. The cells of several neural circuits store information by maintaining a persistent level of activity: A short-lived stimulus triggers the activity of neurons, and this activity is then maintained for several seconds. The mechanisms of this information storage have not yet been sufficiently described, although this phenomenon occurs in very many areas of the brain.

The authors of the study, now published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, investigated the persistent activity in a hindbrain circuit responsible for eye movements in zebrafish larvae. This circuit, the so-called oculomotor system, gives the command for rapid eye movement by way of special nerve cells that produce a short-lived succession of action potentials. On the one hand, this "burst of fire" reaches the neurons responsible for movement in the eyes and triggers a "saccade," a rapid movement of the eye. On the other hand, it is also transmitted to a second cell population, the so-called neural integrator for eye movements, where the speed signal is integrated mathematically and a position signal is created. This signal is then transmitted to the motor neurons, thus producing -- in fish as well as in humans -- a stable eye position following the rapid eye movement. The neural integrator keeps up this signal for several seconds, until a new saccade is initiated.

Lees verder: http://www.scienceda...10824093926.htm

Bron: Albert-Ludwigs-Universitšt Freiburg
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