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U.S. scientists have identified the «GPS human brain '!

Jan 19th 2014 at 8:02 PM

U.S. scientists have identified for the first time in humans specialized brain cells that play a role in GPS, it helps to find one's way and directed to an open unfamiliar environment. Such cells were previously found only in some animals.

The discovery could help in the future development of new pharmaceutical or other therapies for people who are lost and often difficult to "navigate" in open spaces, such as those suffering from Alzheimer's.

Previous research has shown that some animals use three different types of cells to orient in space: direction cells (activated when the animal is facing a particular direction), cell location (enabled only in specific geographical locations) and grid cells (activated at regular time intervals as the animal moves in space and indicate the relative position of the animal relative to other sites).

All these cells send information to the hippocampus of the brain where memories are formed and thus the animal, through this combined cellular activity creates "maps" that help to orient. Hitherto been discovered in humans cells direction and location, but not mesh.

The researchers, led by Professor Joshua Jacobs School of Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems, Drexel University of Philadelphia, made after publication in the journal Neuroscience «Nature Neuroscience» (according to the New Scientist), studied 14 epileptic patients who had been implanted electrodes brain for therapeutic reasons.

The scientists recorded the brain activity of volunteers while they were playing on a laptop computer, one video games, which had to move to a virtual bike into a virtual open space, looking different objects, which then have to remember where they had found.

In the environment there were significantly benchmarks could serve to orient volunteers, so that the latter be forced to into play the most from their brain to create cognitive "maps".

The study showed that, as has been seen in animals, and people in those cases cognitive "mapping" and "navigation" in space, using a series of scattered specialized neurons (brain "grid cells"), which are located mainly in entorhinal cortex (involved in memory and orientation), but also in the prefrontal cortex (also involved in memory).

The entorhinal cortex shows abnormal activity in cases of people with Alzheimer's, who often find it difficult to orient in one place. The researchers believe that it may be possible to find drugs or other methods of brain stimulation, which would enhance the activity of specific cell type GPS.

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