Several of the behaviors we assume are forgiven each day, from running and walking and see and listening are coordinated and interpreted by our minds. The thalamus, which consists of two tiny lobes located near the brainstem, serves as a relaying point for the sensory-motor impulses that fire around the brain.
According to a recent study, cells in the thalamus, the mind’s relaying point for sensorimotor functions, collect more input than previously thought. This could alter how schizophrenia, epilepsy, and other brain illnesses are treated in the future.
“Argonne’s tools helped us to discover this convergence that we would never have seen otherwise,” says Vandana Sampathkumar, an Argonne resident associate in Biosciences at Argonne National Laboratory.
A New Cognitive Transmission Study May Help Treat Specific Brain Disturbances
As medical professional experts know very few things about the human brain yet and such research can help them get better direction and options for more research. It is important to research that has made the experts understand how our brain reacts during the process of cognitive transmission and how much more probabilities are there to have more of the options to remove the brain disturbance with the help of the same process is a key area to check.
Nerve cells in the thalamus had proven hard to examine in the past, but knowing how neurons collect and convey crucial information for sensory and motor skills could lead to novel medical procedures for individuals with specific brain illnesses in the future.
The thalamus is thought to help transmit sensory-motor signals as well as control awareness and attentiveness, according to researchers. However, this new study demonstrates a deeper level of intricacy in how the thalamus collects and conveys data to all sections of the brain.
Scientists from the University of Chicago and the Ministry of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a before unknown confluence or combining, of sensorimotor information in the thalamus, which could help scientists get nearer to developing these therapies.
The findings of the group were reported in Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences.
Millions of pictures were collected in mouse brains using electrons imaging. Pictures are pieced simultaneously electronically on local PCs before being aligned on Argonne’s visualization supercomputer, Cooley, for 3D reconstruction.
“We went in with the hypothesis that cells receive information from one place and send that information with minimal alteration to another place. But that was, in fact, not the case,” said Sampathkumar. “There was a surprising number of cells receiving information from different places and integrating it before passing it on.”
Andrew J. Miller-Hansen, UChicago neuroscience student and team member, emphasized that it had “many messy, complicated diverse inputs and outputs”.
The researchers discovered that particular cells could combine data from various parts of the cortex using picture reconstruction. Solitary neurons in the posterior medial nucleus (Pom) of the thalamus, for instance, may acquire simultaneous sensory-motor input. POm cells also give equal signals from unverified senders, “suggesting even greater integration of information than our data directly show,” according to the study.
“Our understanding of how sensory and motor information is integrated into the thalamus will be important to learning how information flows generally in the brain,” said Miller-Hansen. “We want to know whether this pattern of convergence is specific to sensory and motor integration or if it’s a common circuit pattern supporting other forms of integration in the brain.”
This newfound knowledge about the process and signaling capabilities of cells in the thalamus may aid in the development of therapies for schizophrenia, epilepsy, and other neurological diseases in which thalamic dysfunction appears to be linked to symptomatic difficulties.