As expected on Tuesday this last week President Obama made an official statement about the BAM initiative which has now been changed to BRAIN. What followed was an explosion in media coverage, blog posts, NPR interviews, and Tweets on the subject. Here are just a few.
Here is a link for a general overview of what’s going on from the NIH website.
This page on the whitehouse.gov website seems to have links to all the different announcements.
There is a blurb here from the Nature News Blog.
I really like this blog post from Gary Marcus for the New Yorker.
Here is a blog post from someone who thinks the BRAIN initiative is a bad idea and “a missed opportunity”.
Here is a nice short blog post that gives some possible perspective on the amount of funding.
The post above lead me to this nice post from a Wired interview with Bill Newsome.
And finally you couldn’t top off the media coverage any better than with the head of the NIH, Francis Collins, appearing on the Colbert Report! You can see Stephen Colbert give his thoughts on the BRAIN project and how it isn’t right to have the first letter of an acronym stand for the acronym here. And then for then check out the interview here.
In other news, research at the University of California Santa Cruz on finding out if other animals have the rhythmic ability to follow a beat like humans, has led to what might be the best video of the year.
Check out the video here. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Go straight to about 0:24 seconds in for the best part!
On to the papers!
1) Multifeatural Shape Processing in Rats Engaged in Invariant Visual Object Recognition Alireza Alemi-Neissi, Federica Bianca Rosselli, and Davide Zoccolan ; J Neuroscience 2013 (link)
After his bold attack on the rodent visual system at COSYNE this year, I couldn’t help but read the title for the paper above and see Tony Movshon, teary-eyed, holding a stuffed monkey-toy under one arm while the other shakes a fist in the air 🙂
2) Entorhinal Stellate Cells Show Preferred Spike Phase-Locking to Theta Inputs That Is Enhanced by Correlations in Synaptic Activity Fernando R. Fernandez, Paola Malerba, Paul C. Bressloff, and John A. White ; J Neuroscience 2013 (link)
3) Dissociation between Dorsal and Ventral Hippocampal Theta Oscillations during Decision-Making Brandy Schmidt, James R. Hinman, Tara K. Jacobson, Emily Szkudlarek, Melissa Argraves, Monty A. Escabí, and Etan J. Markus; J Neuroscience 2013 (link)
4) Abstract Representations of Location and Facing Direction in the Human Brain Lindsay K. Vass and Russell A. Epstein ; J Neuroscience 2013 (link)
5) Toward High Performance, Weakly Invasive Brain Computer Interfaces Using Selective Visual Attention David Rotermund, Udo A. Ernst, Sunita Mandon, Katja Taylor, Yulia Smiyukha, Andreas K. Kreiter, and Klaus R. Pawelzik ; J Neuroscience 2013 (link)
6) Functional Characterization of the Extraclassical Receptive Field in Macaque V1: Contrast, Orientation, and Temporal Dynamics Christopher A. Henry, Siddhartha Joshi, Dajun Xing, Robert M. Shapley, and Michael J. Hawken ; J Neuroscience 2013 (link)
7) Time-lapse electrical recordings of single neurons from the mouse neocortex Lior Cohen, Noa Koffman, Hanoch Meiri, Yosef Yarom, Ilan Lampl, and Adi Mizrahi ; PNAS 2013 (link)
8) Motor Cortex Broadly Engages Excitatory and Inhibitory Neurons in Somatosensory Barrel Cortex Amanda K. Kinnischtzke, Daniel J. Simons and Erika E. Fanselow ; Cerebral Cortex 2013 (link)
9) Extracellular Sheets and Tunnels Modulate Glutamate Diffusion in Hippocampal Neuropil Justin P. Kinney, Josef Spacek, Thomas M. Bartol, Chandrajit L. Bajaj, Kristen M. Harris, and Terrence J. Sejnowski ; Journal of Comparative Neurology 2013 (link)
10) Rescuing cocaine-induced prefrontal cortex hypoactivity prevents compulsive cocaine seeking Billy T. Chen, Hau-Jie Yau, Christina Hatch, Ikue Kusumoto-Yoshida, Saemi L. Cho, F. Woodward Hopf & Antonello Bonci ; Nature 2013 (link)
11) The emergence of functional microcircuits in visual cortex Ho Ko, Lee Cossell, Chiara Baragli, Jan Antolik, Claudia Clopath, Sonja B. Hofer & Thomas D. Mrsic-Flogel ; Nature 2013 (link)
12) Neural Decoding of Visual Imagery During Sleep T. Horikawa,1,2 M. Tamaki, Y. Miyawaki, Y. Kamitani ; Science 2013 (link)
Commentary on the paper above:
How to Build a Dream-Reading Machine Emily Underwood ; Science 2013 (link)
13) Non-Invasive Brain-to-Brain Interface (BBI): Establishing Functional Links between Two Brains Seung-Schik Yoo, Hyungmin Kim, Emmanuel Filandrianos, Seyed Javid Taghados, Shinsuk Park ; PLoS One 2013 (link)
This looks interesting. Clearly considering this paper along with the earlier Nicolelis publication hints at an upcoming explosion of Brain-to-Brain interface studies… or maybe not.
14) Optogenetic Dissection of Entorhinal-Hippocampal Functional Connectivity Sheng-Jia Zhang, Jing Ye, Chenglin Miao, Albert Tsao, Ignas Cerniauskas, Debora Ledergerber, May-Britt Moser, Edvard I. Moser ; Science 2013 (link)
Commentary on the above paper:
A Trace of Your Place Bruno Poucet and Francesca Sargolini ; Science 2013 (link)
I’m very excited to read this last paper!