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Iupui Researchers Use Computers to 'see' Neurons to Better Understand Brain Function

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A nerve cell.

In this study, which processed images and reconstructed neuronal motor circuitry in the brain, the researchers collected and analyzed data on minute structures over various developmental stages, efforts linking neuroscience and computer science.

Credit: Nicholas P. Rougier

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) researchers recently conducted a study revealing new information about the motor circuits of the brain that could help those developing therapies to treat conditions such as stroke, schizophrenia, spinal cord injury, or Alzheimer's disease.

"Using the tools of artificial intelligence, specifically computer vision and image processing, we are able to visualize and process actual neurons of model organism," says IUPUI professor Gavriil Tsechpenakis. "Our work in the brain of a model organism--the fruit fly--will help us and other researchers move forward to more complex organisms with the ultimate goal of reconstructing the human central nervous system to gain insight into what goes wrong at the cellular level when devastating disorders of the brain and spinal cord occur."

The study, which processed images and reconstructed neural motor circuitry in the brain, involved collecting and analyzing data on minute structures over various developmental stages. "Dr. Tsechpenakis made it clear to us that different perspectives are necessary, and the ability to think about a problem is more valuable than the education and training you've had," says researcher Rachel Stephens. "Before I joined the lab, I hadn't really thought about how computer science could help heal."

From IUPUI News Center
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