Novel technique used to show how electrical impulses travel with high speed in the brain

Novel technique used to show how electrical impulses travel with high speed in the brain

Study reveals overactive brain wave activity as an underlying cause of essential tremor Together with researchers of the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) of Experimental Medicine (Göttingen, Germany), the researchers used electron microscopy to measure the distance between the nerve cell membrane and the insulating sheath, which turned out to be 12 nanometers, approximately 10,000 times thinner than a hair. Furthermore, the scientists of the NIN used a new technique to make electricity visible and took advantage of a supercomputer to calculate the specific properties of myelin sheaths. "All the findings together showed that instead of being an insulating sheath, myelin creates an additional layer like coaxial cables producing multiple waves of electrical potentials travelling in a more complicated manner than was envisioned earlier", Kole explains. These findings open new avenues to understand the hardware of how brains are computing with rapid signal transfer. Multiple sclerosis This research also will help to better understand demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). In patients with MS, myelin sheaths are broken down. This leads to an increasing degree of limitations that affect strength, balance and coordination, and thus the patient's mobility. In order to be able to cure and prevent MS, it is important to know the exact way the myelin sheath functions in order to predict what happens if it doesn't function as it should. "Our work now may provide reliable predictions of how impulses travel along the highways without myelin. This finding contributes to the understanding of the cellular changes occurring in MS," says Kole. Source:



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