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Neural Code Summary - fields of neurons Nicolelis and...

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Sara Carlson February 19, 2007 BIOS120 – 113 Seeking the Neuronal Code Summary This article was about how neurons translate impulses and electrical currents into emotions, thoughts and sensations. Originally the hypothesis was that the pathways were linear and transmission occurred along specific neuronal routes between receptors and the brain. Researchers have been studying rats and their neural pathways and have discovered that information is passed through neural ensembles called “barrel fields” and that transmission is a spatiotemporal activity. Scientists discovered these barrel fields by measuring cytochrome oxidase levels that showed intense cellular activity in an arrangement of rows and columns. In the rat, these barrel fields mapped its snout. Scientists Woolsey and Van der Loos described these barrel shaped clusters and how they form a slightly distorted topographic map of the face. So in rats, each whisker is arranged in a column and a row that corresponds to discrete barrel
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Unformatted text preview: fields of neurons. Nicolelis and Ribeiro studied the effects of anesthetics on the rats and the resulting perception differences and found that the spatiotemporal aspect of the neurons allowed the cells to reorganize after any change in sensory stimulation from the periphery. When they anesthetized certain locations near the whiskers of the rat, they found that the receptive fields managed to reorganize within seconds and were able to sense the tactile stimulus. This is fascinating because it differs completely from the original linear transmission theory. It is what makes each organism so unique and complex. These neuronal receptors are always changing to accommodate to the environment we are in, and so our neural connections are always different. This is fascinating because we used to think there was a specific pathway for each stimulus and reaction and now we know that our neural network is constantly changing....
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