Bilateral tactile input patterns decoded at comparable levels but different time scales in neocortical neurons

A new article from our lab was published today in Journal of Neuroscience. It is called ‘Bilateral tactile input patterns decoded at comparable levels but different time scales in neocortical neurons’ and investigates to which extent individual neurons of the primary somatosensory can decode contralateral and ipsilateral input.

We demonstrate that the spiking activity of single neocortical neurons in the somatosensory cortex of the rat can be used to decode patterned tactile stimuli delivered to the distal ventral skin of the second forepaw digits on both sides of the body. Even though comparable levels of decoding of the tactile input was achieved faster for contralateral input, given sufficient integration time each neuron was found to decode ipsilateral input with a comparable level of accuracy. Given that the neocortical neurons could decode ipsilateral inputs with such small differences between the patterns suggests that S1 cortex has access to very precise information about ipsilateral events. The findings shed new light on possible network mechanisms underlying bimanual haptic processing.

Att mäta hjärnans funktionella integritet [Swedish]

I senaste numret av tidskriften Neurologi i Sverige skriver Henrik Jörntell och Jonas Enander från vårt lab om de senaste fynden och hur de har potentialen att mäta hjärnans funktionella integritet. Eventuella kliniska användningsområden diskuteras inom både neurologi samt psykiatri.

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Att mäta hjärnans funktionella integritet

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Nu går det att vandra runt i musens hjärna [Swedish]

Docent Henrik Jörntell från vårt lab intervjuades, ånyo, av SVT för att hjälpa till att klargöra nya fynd från Howard Hughes Medical Institute i USA.

I artikeln kan vi läsa “Ny teknik gör det möjligt att vandra runt i mushjärnan. Forskare har nu kartlagt 300 nervceller – målet är att kartlägga alla 70 miljoner.
[…]
– Syftet med sån här grundforskning är att man på ett bättre sätt börjar förstå hur hjärnan fungerar och då förbättrar man också möjligheterna att hitta behandlingsvägar för olika typer av sjukdomar, både neurologiska och psykiatriska, säger Henrik Jörntell.”

Läs hela artikeln på SVT Nyheter.

Människor och flugor delar gemensamt arv [Swedish]

Artikel på SVT Nyheter skriver idag: “Är vi kanske mer lika insekter än vad vi tror? Ja, i alla fall om vi ska tro ny forskning. Nu har forskare kartlagt bananflugans nervsystem med hjälp av ny teknik”.

Artikeln diskuterades med Henrik Jörntell från vårat lab som bland annat säger: “Forskarna har tagit ett stort steg mot en komplett kartläggning av bananflugans centrala nervsystem. De har kunnat visa hur nervsystemet är uppbyggt på ett väldigt detaljerat sätt. Det är ingen som gjort det så noggrant innan”.

Artificial spatiotemporal touch inputs reveal complementary decoding in neocortical neurons

A new article was published today in Scientific Reports. The article, ‘Artificial spatiotemporal touch inputs reveal complementary decoding in neocortical neurons‘ unveils central brain mechanisms for touch with widespread applications for neuroprostheses design and understanding neurological disease.

It is a result of the collaboration with a lab from Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy. We, The Pisa-Lund group, generated artificial touch experiences with a bionic fingertip currently used for robotic upper limb neuroprostheses. These artificial touch experiences were provided to the touch sensor nerves of the skin, as a kind of neuroscientific playback of information to the brain. Using a high-resolution analysis of how individual neurons and their connected brain networks processed this touch information, designed by neurocomputational scientist Alberto Mazzoni and physics scientist Anton Spanne, the groups got an unexpected insight into the brain representations of the external world experienced through touch. Single neurons in our brains are able to convey much more information than was previously thought and can interact to generate potentially super rich representations of sensory stimuli. This knowledge will be embodied into a novel generation of sensitive robotic hands able to convey fine tactile information to amputees. Moreover, robotic arms with human-like richness of touch could be used to perform complex tasks in services and industry.

Moreover, what started out as an approach to understand how the brain processes artificial touch experiences also indicated a potentially novel methodology to obtain a high-precision analysis of the integrity and health of the brain. Sensory processing in the brain depends on a proper structure and dynamics in the neuronal networks of the brain. In all neurological disease and in psychiatric disorders, there is a disruptive effect on these networks properties. As our method quantifies the integrity of the network function, it can be implemented in high-resolution, quantitative evaluation of those diseases.

The research was carried out by SSSA/EPFL, with lead scientists Calogero Oddo and Silvestro Micera, and by LU, with lead scientist Henrik Jörntell.

And for our swedish friends there is a press release from the Faculty of medicine at Lund university to read.

Attention from media:

No Medium-Term Spinocerebellar Input Plasticity in Deep Cerebellar Nuclear Neurons In Vivo?

Hannes Mogensen, Fredrik Bengtsson and Henrik Jörntell recently published an article in The Cerebellum. Where they investigated the mechanism underlying plasticity in the cerebellum.

In order to understand the mechanism underlying plasticity in the cerebellum, an important piece of information is the efficacy of long term potentiation between mossy fiber inputs and deep cerebellar nuclei. Previous studies has shown that plasticity can be induced on a medium-term time scale (less than an hour) in juvenile slices, however our results show that for the adult brain in an in vivo setting, the effect is non-existing or at least an order of magnitude smaller than has been hitherto reported.

For further reading, head over to the article.