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Connecting mind vs machine. (To Yan.King.Yin)

Richard Norman rsnorman at mediaone.net
Fri Jun 22 16:30:14 EST 2001


"Brian" <zhil at online.no> wrote in message
news:zvOY6.4018$_96.173769 at news3.oke.nextra.no...
> Hello Yan,
> You mentioned that you were interested in connecting the brain (neurons)
to
> electronic equipment.
> As I'm browsing "Life" (Purves), I see that there is one possibility
called
> patch clamping
> You may study this, because it seems to be the solution avoiding
> reprogramming DNA in neurons
> as I mentioned earlier (and got flak from one on the board).
> The drawback is that it works on single neurons, not groups; and it might
> also be an advantage........
> It seems to be much easier, but I think that reprogramming is the next
step.
> What do you think ?
>
> Brian
>

Patch clamping is an excellent technique to record what is happening
on very small pieces of membrane.  These pieces may have only one
or two active protein channels on them, so the technique is invaluable in
determining how single ion channels work.  Neher and Sakmann
won the Nobel Prize for this work.

However it really has very little bearing on your question about
connecting "the brain" to electronic equipment.  It requires very
highly isolated neurons with clean surfaces and specialized
manipulators capable of very small controlled movements and
mechanical stability, not to mention very specialized electronics.

If you really want to record signals, especially from large number
of cells simultaneously,  you had better look elsewhere!

The issue of "reprogramming" is altogether different.  Patch
clamping has nothing to do with that.







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