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1XX3_Neuroscience 2.docx

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McMaster University
Joe Kim

Neuroscience II TerminologyDorsal refers to the back of the axisVentral to the front of the axis or to the bellyRostral toward the top of the axisCaudal towards the bottom of the axisMedial locations in the brain that are more central or towards the midline of the brainLateral regions towards the outside of the brainStudying the Brain Lesion StudiesIn such ablation studies a researcher destroys removes or inactivates a defined brain region and observes the result on behaviourThe accuracy of this emerging understanding of structure and function can depend on the precision of the lesionSingle Cell RecordingElectrodes also are used to record ongoing electrical activity in the brain through single cell recording techniqueso A small electrode is inserted into the nervous tissue of a live animal model with its tip held just outside the cell body of an individual neurono From this electrode neural activity is recorded while the animal performs a task or a stimulus is presented The pattern of firing reveals a particular neurons functional roleo In a typical experiment cats were presented with specific visual stimuli while recording from single cells in the visual cortexIn this way individual cell types were identified that responded to specific categories of visual stimuliStructural NeuroimagingDuring a computed tomography CT scan a series of Xray slices of the brain are taken and pieced together to produce a relatively quick and inexpensive picture of the braino These scans are often helpful to diagnose brain injuries A major limitation with the CT scan by todays standards is its relatively low resolution It is very difficult to examine fine brain anatomy with a CT scan and as such it is not often used in neuroscience research It is very difficult to examine fine brain anatomy with a CT scan and as such it is not often used in neuroscience research For a more detailed structural mage of the brain Neuroscientists use MRI Magnetic Resonance ImagingIn an MRI machine powerful magnetic fields are generated which aligned the hydrogen atoms found throughout the brain While these atoms are aligned an MRI can be used to localize tissue very precisely throughout the brainFunctional NeuroimagingCognitive neuroscientists can use a functional imaging technique such as positron emission tomography or PET scan to learn how brain function relates to cognitive tasks such as language and memory In a PET scan a radioactive tracer of glucose or oxygen is injected into the bloodstream The radioactive molecules make their way to the brain and are used in metabolic processes which are used in metabolic processes which are detected by the PET scano The logic is that more active brain areas will use more metabolic resources and so an image of the brains relative pattern of activity can be constructed A disadvantage of the PET scan is that it requires a radioactive tracer to be injected a relatively invasive procedure Functional magnetic resonance image or fMRI is often preferred because it can produce a relatively clear image of the brains activity without the need for a radioactive tracer fMRI works by measuring the blood oxygen dependent signal and uses many of the same principles as the MRI It is able to measure the relative use of oxygen throughout the brain and operates under the same basic assumption as the PET scanmore active areas of the brain require more metabolic resources
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