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Neurons in the brain vibrate to evoke the rhythm of a tango and encode space like Google Maps

Neurons do not pass information to each other either randomly or in the order in which it arrives: gamma oscillation provides the basic rhythm for their action, and the dance is very much like a tango. in the advancement of science An international research group led by Zoltán Nádasdy, a cognitive neuropsychologist at ELTE. Although the previously calculated scientific basis is that the firing pattern of neurons, i.e. the location and time of action potentials, is unpredictable, Nádasdy’s team of scientists has succeeded in proving the opposite with the help of the theory they developed. As they write in their study, neuron discharge is controlled by gamma oscillation as the steps of tango pairs are ruffled by music. They explain this analogy in their press release by saying that inflections, such as the degrees of the tango, are precisely designed, but they can cover the entire area of ​​the dance floor, ie the brain.

The rhythm determined by the gamma oscillations gives the healthy, functional brain a spatial orientation, for example. It was previously known that people orient themselves in the space around them so that their brains create a neural model of the environment. In animal experiments, it was shown that the position of the brain in space, with the discharge of so-called location cells, indicates the way in which a mobile user uses a blue dot on his current coordinates on a Google map. When a mobile person moves, the blue dot on the mental map is transmitted in the brain, which means that the action potential is transmitted, discharging local cells along the path.

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The basic rhythm also encodes time and space

However, it was not yet possible to decipher what controls the process in the brain according to the coordinate system. To explore this, Nádasdy and his research team developed a phase coding theory that gives an accurate estimate of gamma spread and velocity after recording the gamma frequency of the brain, and predicts a gamma phase delay within the cerebral cortex or between distant parts of the brain. Brain, refers to the network properties due to oscillations. In addition to the local cells, another group of cells, the main grid cells, was used to help construct the mental coordinate system. It has been observed that reticulocytes erupt at repeating points periodically in space. The team observed that the discharge phase in the vicinity of certain points in space remains constant relative to the gamma rhythm, changes systematically as it moves away, and becomes constant again over a certain distance. From this rhythm the map of the environment is created.

This is how the human brain navigates in spacePhoto: Nádasdy et. The.

In their experiment, the researchers studied epilepsy patients by placing electrodes in the temporal lobes of bed-bound patients, which also allowed them to study the function of individual neurons. The patients in the study had to perform orientation tasks using computer games. The primary aim of the research was to determine the exact location of the epileptic seizures, but in the meantime, the data collected by the electrodes can also be used to study spatial navigation performance and memory. Thus, it has been observed that some neurons are unloaded not only at specific points in space (the default multiplayer), but also at a certain time, not only when the avatar symbolizing the player moves in a straight line, but also when he moves back and forth. In the field. According to Nadase and colleagues, the only explanation for this may be that the spatio-temporal periodicity is coordinated with the same rhythm. Since the tempo must also be fast to track even the smallest spatial displacement, the only potential candidate left is the fast and continuous gamma oscillation.

The observation is a breakthrough in understanding basic brain processes, and also confirms the principle of phase coding, a new testing method developed by Nádasdy and his research team. Of course, science not only benefits, as in the case of epilepsy, a disturbance of the gamma rhythm causes seizure symptoms. Gamma oscillations in the brain, which researchers believe may play a key role in encoding neural information, are by no means unique to the human brain and are a characteristic of all organisms from insects to primates. Further examination may reveal basic brain function.

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