Recently, MIT's team of engineers invented an automated method to analyze microscope images using computer algorithms and guide the "robot arm" to the target cells to achieve the research and analysis of the specific behavior of neurons
it is understood that this technology allows more scientists to study single neurons and understand how a single neuron realizes human brain cognition through interaction with other cells Gary Cheng said, "here are sensory perception and other functions. In addition, researchers can also use this technology to understand how neural circuits are affected by brain disorders.
an associate professor of biotechnology at MIT explained: "To understand the communication mode of neurons, the two box type and two box equipment can be distinguished into high-temperature zone and low-temperature zone. Part 2 is the basis. The arrow of the direction of movement should be marked on the outside of the appropriate parts and the basis of clinical neuroscience. When neurons are working or neurons are sick, we hope to let you see what happens in cells through this technology."
in the past 30 years, neuroscientists have been using a technique called "patch" to record the potential activity of cells. The specific realization of this technology is to use a tiny hollow glass tube to contact the cell membrane of neurons, and then open a small hole on the membrane to observe. This technology usually takes a graduate student or postdoctoral several months to learn and operate. Especially in mammalian brain, this technology will be more difficult to learn
previously, there were two types of "patching" technology. One was to blindly and randomly select the location. Because researchers could not see the specific location of the cell, they could only record the location of each attempt, and then find the exact location of the cell after finding it with the accuracy of the experimental machine. Another method is to use image guidance, but the accuracy of this method is not highIn 12 years, Boyden and his colleagues invented a method of automatic patch repair. They wrote a computer algorithm, which can guide the straw to aim at a cell according to a property called electrical impedance
this method also shows how difficult it is to manually explore the location of cells before, because even using the algorithm, the final location is approached through continuous attempts and calculations by the computer. The specific process is that if there are no cells around, the current will be reduced, the impedance will also be reduced, and the tip will move. When the tip reaches a cell, the current will not flow, and the impedance will increase rapidly, so that the computer can make the tip quickly lock the position of the cell
when the tip of the pipette is locked, it stops on the cell surface, and then uses the vacuum pump to form a closed space between the membrane and the tip through suction. Then, the electrode through the membrane will record the potential activity inside the cell
although this technology has achieved high accuracy, it still cannot be used to target specific cells. In order to achieve accurate directional operation, researchers began to try to combine automatic image guidance technology to complete the operation manually. But it is worth noting that after the tip of the pipette enters the brain, the nearby cells will automatically move, so manual operation is very difficult
based on the combination of various imaging technologies, researchers have proposed an algorithm that moves the pipette into the target cell of about 25 microns. In order to achieve this higher accuracy, the system combines image technology with technology using impedance characteristics
then the researchers used a two-photon microscope to image the cells, and then used a pulsed laser to send infrared rays to the brain to brighten the cells designed to express fluorescent proteins for easy tracking and recognition
now, using this latest method, researchers can successfully target cells, with a success rate of 20%. This is equivalent to the performance of trained scientists in the process of manual operation
with the development of brain computer interface technology and the continuous warming of biotechnology, this research method will become a key basic technology, paving the way for the in-depth study of specific neuronal behavior. In addition, it is undoubtedly a great progress to let computers or robots replace students and reduce the time consumption of students in repetitive work. At the same time, the computer video of this research is also very convenient for sharing research, and to some extent, it realizes the integration of resources. This technology will also greatly promote the research of insoluble diseases (such as Alzheimer's disease or schizophrenia) in the medical field