nerve recording

Mark Bieda markb at AHI.PBRC.HAWAII.EDU
Tue Aug 6 03:48:02 EST 1991

Response to submission regarding neural pathway recording:
	We wish we could! Many neuroscientists would give an arm (or at
least a few fingers) to have the ability to record the "complete activity"
of a nerve pathway. To understand the difficulty, think about what a nerve 
pathway is - a set of axons in a bundle. To really understand the signal
along this pathway at the level that you are talking about- with the ability
to reconstruct the signal- you would need a separate recording from each
axon.* Since a bundle may be composed of 100's of axons, this is no simple
feat. Imagine 100 simulateous impalements with electrodes... well beyond 
our current capability.
	However, there is hope. There have been a few short pieces in 
_Science_ (and I mean news pieces, not articles) about a group at 
Stanford with a very different approach. As I remember (somewhat dimly)
it involved something like allowing regenerating axons to grow through
holes in a chip that could thereby pick up the activity... Anyone out
there have more information?!

* Actually, if you are clever you can apply basic signal processing to 
get out _some_ information without having a recording from every axon.
If you are really interested in this problem, you might want to start
with discussions on extracellular recording in some neuroscience books - 
like some of the older textbooks.

-Mark Bieda
Bekesy Laboratory of Neurobiology
University of Hawaii
Soon to be Stanford Neuroscience Program

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