The irradiated monkeys are smarter


29/07/2012

The scientists, based on the results of the tests proved that the primate thinking can be improved by optogenetiki, ie, activating a specific part of the brain the necessary light. The work was described in a paper published in the journal Current Biology.

Monkeys were trained to observe the moving dots on a computer screen. The animals had to be translated to the point of view that lights brighter than others. In the learning process, biologists have observed how the area of the brain involved in performing the task. For this purpose we used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), which allows you to monitor the activity of cells in different areas of the brain.

Scientists, setting a region of the brain that is responsible for training, introduced primate virus that contains light-sensitive ion channel gene. Direct light exposure on this channel can activate neurons. Since the virus is administered only in those cells that have been detected in a certain area of the brain, is enabled selectively by the light required to activate neurons.

Re-echoing these visual tests with monkeys, scientists before running the job this time, their brains were irradiated with light (this was used a thin optical fiber). It is proved that this activation can improve the performance of monkeys by 10 percent. In addition, according to some unpublished data, the more complex the task, the higher the percentage.

Previously, researchers have shown that such optogeneticheskie techniques can be used for this memory. In published work biologists proved that the memory can be activated with only a few neurons.

News prepared by: A. CHirkova


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