Jun 27, 2019

Researchers grow active mini-brain-networks

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

Cerebral organoids are artificially grown, 3D tissue cultures that resemble the human brain. Now, researchers from Japan report functional neural networks derived from these organoids in a study publishing June 27 in the journal Stem Cell Reports. Although the organoids aren’t actually “thinking,” the researchers’ new tool—which detects neural activity using organoids—could provide a method for understanding human brain function.

“Because they can mimic cerebral development, can be used as a substitute for the to study complex developmental and neurological disorders,” says corresponding author Jun Takahashi, a professor at Kyoto University.

However, these studies are challenging, because current cerebral organoids lack desirable supporting structures, such as blood vessels and surrounding tissues, Takahashi says. Since researchers have a limited ability to assess the organoids’ neural activities, it has also been difficult to comprehensively evaluate the function of neuronal networks.

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