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      Neuroscience thinks big (and collaboratively).

      Nature reviews. Neuroscience

      Animals, Biophysics, trends, Brain, physiology, Cooperative Behavior, Humans, International Cooperation, Models, Neurological, Neurosciences

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          Abstract

          Despite cash-strapped times for research, several ambitious collaborative neuroscience projects have attracted large amounts of funding and media attention. In Europe, the Human Brain Project aims to develop a large-scale computer simulation of the brain, whereas in the United States, the Brain Activity Map is working towards establishing a functional connectome of the entire brain, and the Allen Institute for Brain Science has embarked upon a 10-year project to understand the mouse visual cortex (the MindScope project). US President Barack Obama's announcement of the BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative) in April 2013 highlights the political commitment to neuroscience and is expected to further foster interdisciplinary collaborations, accelerate the development of new technologies and thus fuel much needed medical advances. In this Viewpoint article, five prominent neuroscientists explain the aims of the projects and how they are addressing some of the questions (and criticisms) that have arisen.

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          The brain activity map project and the challenge of functional connectomics.

          The function of neural circuits is an emergent property that arises from the coordinated activity of large numbers of neurons. To capture this, we propose launching a large-scale, international public effort, the Brain Activity Map Project, aimed at reconstructing the full record of neural activity across complete neural circuits. This technological challenge could prove to be an invaluable step toward understanding fundamental and pathological brain processes. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            A biophysically detailed model of neocortical local field potentials predicts the critical role of active membrane currents.

            Brain activity generates extracellular voltage fluctuations recorded as local field potentials (LFPs). It is known that the relevant microvariables, the ionic currents across membranes, jointly generate the macrovariables, the extracellular voltage, but neither the detailed biophysical knowledge nor the required computational power have been available to model these processes. We simulated the LFP in a model of the rodent neocortical column composed of >12,000 reconstructed, multicompartmental, and spiking cortical layer 4 and 5 pyramidal neurons and basket cells, including five million dendritic and somatic compartments with voltage- and ion-dependent currents, realistic connectivity, and probabilistic AMPA, NMDA, and GABA synapses. We found that, depending on a number of factors, the LFP reflects local and cross-layer processing. Active currents dominate the generation of LFPs, not synaptic ones. Spike-related currents impact the LFP not only at higher frequencies but below 50 Hz. This work calls for re-evaluating the genesis of LFPs. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Neuroscience. The brain activity map.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                23958663
                10.1038/nrn3578

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