The Neuropixels are probes of silicon in able miniature to register the activity of cientos of groups of neurons of different parts of the brain of simultaneous way. These sophisticated devices of new generation were developed in 2017 by the Interuniversity Centre of Microelectrónica (IMEC, of his acronyms in English) of Belgium and has supposed an important advance in the study of the operation of the brain being used in numerous investigations in neuroscience.
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Before this new technology was extremely complicated to access to the cerebral fabric in question without altering the cerebral connections and much less measure the activity of diverse zones. The IMEC showed his successful results using these mechanisms in November of 2017 in a publication where explain his operation and whose investigation was published in the magazine Nature.Under the title Fully integrated silicon probes for high-density recording of neural activity.
How the Neuropixels work?
The Neuropixel is a device that inserts in the cerebral fabric and that measures exactly 10 millimetres of long and that incorporates the necessary electrodes (100 each mm) to register the electrical activity of the neurons of the area in question. With almost 1.000 electrical sensors planted along the probe, thinner that a human hair, but with the sufficient length to access to a lot of regions of the brain allows to measure the activity of cientos of neurons of individual way or grupal in function of what the investigation require.
These probes allow to attract variations very slight in the changes and electrical delays in front of diverse stimuli that present him to the subject of study allowing create maps of high resolution of the electrical activity of the brain. Thanks to this technology can re-create the roads by which circulates the information in our brain.
To comprise how works the brain, have to measure the conjoint activity of a myriad of individual neurons distributed in the regions of the brain. Till lately, this was impossible: the methods of register could resolve the activity of individual neurons or monitor multiple regions of the brain.
The profits to apply this technical are enormous and of big application in neuroscience being these investigations of the most made in this field given the big importance to understand how works the brain. Know better the physiology of the brain can help to detect the regions of the brain that see affected in determinate illnesses neurológicas, like the schizophrenia and similar to be able to like this help to the creation of drugs that can correct or mitigate the effects of these dysfunctions in the people that suffer them, improving therefore his health.
The fields of studies that go to benefit of the technical are many and diverse. The health. For example, recently it has attained re-create a map of how works the visual system in our brain detecting that it arrives to use between 30% and 50% ours cerebral bark.
The Neuropixels have been perhaps one of the greater advances in neuroscience of our recent period.
IMEC (2017). Imec designs and fabricates world-first miniature neural probe for simultaneous recording of multiple brain regions at Neural resolution. Extracted on 23 January 2021 of https://www.imec-int.com/en/articles/imec-designs-and-fabricates-world-first-miniature-neural-probe-for-simultaneous-recording-of-multiple-brain-regions-at-neuronal-resolution
Jun, J., Steinmetz, N., Siegle, J. Et al. Fully integrated silicon probes for high-density recording of neural activity. Nature 551, 232–236 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature24636