Earlier today, scientists from Blue Brain Project, a research endeavor supported by Human Brain Project, announced that they were able to reconstruct, through the aid of a computer enhanced model, part of a rat’s neocortex. Scientists achieved rat brain reconstruction in order to pave the way for the mapping of a human brain.
After years of tiresome research, and with a budget of over one billion US dollars, more than 82 researchers around the world achieved what can easily be the breakthrough of the century in neurobiology.
The aim of the Human Brain Project is to develop a way to accurately map and mimic the actual functions of the human brain cells.
Through this program, scientists have uncovered over 40 million synapses and more than 2,000 connections between individual brain cells. A doctor Idan Segev, head of the department of neurobiology at the University of Jerusalem, said that the system is, yet, too intricate to be fully understood.
Although this was and is a very controversial project, receiving criticism from hundreds of neuroscientists around the world, regarding its research purpose and feasibility, Henry Markram from the Polytechnical University of Laussane, announced that his team released the first results of his 10 year research. They have been able to map out at least 30,000 brain cells.
With the aid of supercomputers and mathematically generated models, researchers were able to observe the behavior of synchronous brain waves during the sleep cycle.
The method used by the brain in neurotransmission is still somewhat of a mystery for the scientific community. They recently theorized that the sudden shift in the level of calcium ions is able to alter the brain’s behavioral response.
In order to explain the complex processes of neurotransmission, Henry Markram took upon himself to create an analogy between the brain and a computer processor. Markram said that a simple processor can be reconfigured to focus on certain activities.
His team concluded that this sudden shift in the brain’s neurochemical balance can induce different states in behavior such as aggression or awareness.
Though the results reflect only a small portion of the brain’s functionality, researchers are still confident and carry on in their effort to map the human brain that contains over 82 billion brain cells.
Markram stated that this method, although crude and highly hypothetical, shows than you cannot measure everything empirically.
The search continues as, every day, researchers find and map more and more brain cells interactions.