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Scientist Discover Homer Simpson Neuron?

From: Matthew S.
Sent on: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 8:20 PM
ICNDE is proud to announce the launching of Brainstorm, a new blog that explores the latest discoveries in the field of neuroscience. A preview from our first post:

Scientists Discover a Homer Simpson Neuron?

How does the brain encode and recall memories? Is there a specific neuron that fires when we recognize and remember Homer Simpson?

A recent publication by Gelbard-Sagiv et al. in the journal Science addresses the role of neuronal firing in the formation and recall of memories in humans (1). Subjects of the study were epilepsy patients who underwent surgical implantation of electrodes into their brains in order to localize the focus of their seizures. This created a unique opportunity for scientists to gain insights into memory formation and recall by directly measuring the neuronal activity in the human hippocampus, a region of the brain thought to play a role in processing memories. The authors studied the activity of individual neurons in the hippocampus and surrounding brain areas by recording electrical activity while subjects viewed clips from television episodes such as the Simpsons. They also recorded from these neurons while the subjects freely recalled the same episodes. They discovered that some neurons fired selectively while the subjects viewed specific episodes. Interestingly, the same neurons were active later during verbal reports of memories of the same episodes. Researchers hypothesize that this reactivation is an internally generated neuronal mechanism of memory recollection....

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ICNDE, affectionately known as "eye candy", stands for the Initiative for Collective Neuronal Dynamics and Epilepsy. ICNDE is an educational and scientific nonprofit that studies how large numbers of neurons cooperate to code for information in the brain and how this collective activity is altered in diseases such as epilepsy. Learn more by visiting or the Facebook group ICDNE

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