Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















SPACE MEDICINE
Computer approaches human skill for first time in mapping brain
by Staff Writers
Pullman WA (SPX) Aug 21, 2017


Left: Raw electron microscopy images of small pieces of brain tissues. Right: Color-coded brain maps generated by computers, where different colors represent different neurons. Credit Washington State University

A WSU research team for the first time has developed a computer algorithm that is nearly as accurate as people are at mapping brain neural networks - a breakthrough that could speed up the image analysis that researchers use to understand brain circuitry.

For more than a generation, people have been trying to improve understanding of human brain circuitry, but are challenged by its vast complexity. It is similar to having a satellite image of the earth and trying to map out 100 billion homes, all of the connecting streets and everyone's destinations, said Shuiwang Ji, associate professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and lead researcher on the project.

Researchers, in fact, took more than a decade to fully map the circuitry of just one animal's brain - a worm that has only 302 neurons. The human brain, meanwhile, has about 100 billion neurons, and the amount of data needed to fully understand its circuitry would require 1000 exabytes of data, or the equivalent of all the data that is currently available in the world.

Neuron by neuron
To map neurons, researchers currently use an electron microscope to take pictures - with one image usually containing a small number of neurons. The researchers then study each neuron's shape and size as well as its thousands of connections with other nearby neurons to learn about its role in behavior or biology.

"We don't know much about how brains work," said Ji.

With such rudimentary understanding of our circuitry, researchers are limited in their ability to understand the causes of devastating brain diseases, such as Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, autism or Parkinson's disease, he said.

Instead, they have to rely on trial and error experimentation to come up with treatments. The National Academy of Engineering has listed improving understanding of the human brain as one of its grand challenges for the 21st century.

Accurate as humans
In 2013, MIT organized a competition that called on researchers to develop automated computer algorithms that could speed up image analysis, decode and understand images of brain circuitry.

As part of the competition, the algorithms are compared to work that was done by a real team of neuroscientists. If computers can become as accurate as humans, they will be able to do the computations much faster and cheaper than humans, said Ji.

WSU's research team developed the first computational model that was able to reach a human level of performance in accuracy.

Just as a human eye takes in information and then analyzes it in multiple stages, the WSU team developed a computational model that takes the image as its input and then processes it in a many-layered network before coming to a decision. In their algorithm, the researchers developed an artificial neural network that imitates humans' complex biological neural networks.

While the WSU research team was able to approach human accuracy in the MIT challenge, they still have a lot of work to do in getting the computers to develop complete and accurate neural maps.

The computers still make a large number of mistakes, and there is not yet a gold standard for comparing human and computational results, said Ji. Although it may not be realistic to expect that automated methods would completely replace human soon, improvements in computational methods will certainly lead to reduced manual proof-reading, he added.

A report on the WSU team's work currently in the journal, Bioinformatics.

Research paper

SPACE MEDICINE
NASA sends mice to space station to study space travel health risks
Washington (UPI) Aug 15, 2017
With Monday's SpaceX launch a success, a group of mice are en route to the International Space Station. The rodents are being sent to ISS as part of an ongoing effort by NASA to study the impacts of longterm space travel on human health. Mice are biological similar to humans, yet relatively simple, physiologically speaking, which is why they an ideal model for human health studies. ... read more

Related Links
Washington State University
Space Medicine Technology and Systems

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

SPACE MEDICINE
NASA Offers Space Station as Catalyst for Discovery in Washington

SpaceX launches super-computer to space station

Two Voyagers Taught Us How to Listen to Space

A look inside the Space Station's experimental BEAM module

SPACE MEDICINE
ISRO Develops Ship-Based Antenna System to Track Satellite Launches

SpaceX Sets August 14 Launch Date for Next US Resupply Mission to ISS

VSS Unity Flies with Propulsion Systems Installed and Live

Space Launch System Solid Rocket Boosters 'on Target' for First Flight

SPACE MEDICINE
For Moratorium on Sending Commands to Mars, Blame the Sun

Tributes to wetter times on Mars

Opportunity will spend three weeks at current location due to Solar Conjunction

Curiosity Mars Rover Begins Study of Ridge Destination

SPACE MEDICINE
China's satellite sends unbreakable cipher from space

Xian Satellite Control Center resolves over 10 major satellite faults in 50 years

China develops sea launches to boost space commerce

Chinese satellite Zhongxing-9A enters preset orbit

SPACE MEDICINE
ASTROSCALE Raises a Total of $25 Million in Series C Led by Private Companies

LISA Pathfinder: bake, rattle and roll

Blue Sky Network Reaffirms Commitment to Brazilian Market

India to Launch Exclusive Satellite for Afghanistan

SPACE MEDICINE
Surprise discovery in the search for energy efficient information storage

Electricity and silver effective at keeping bacteria off plastics

Researchers 3-D print first truly microfluidic 'lab on a chip' devices

2-faced 2-D material is a first at Rice

SPACE MEDICINE
A New Search for Extrasolar Planets from the Arecibo Observatory

Gulf of Mexico tube worm is one of the longest-living animals in the world

Molecular Outflow Launched Beyond Disk Around Young Star

Deep-sea animals eating plastic fibers from clothing

SPACE MEDICINE
New Horizons Video Soars over Pluto's Majestic Mountains and Icy Plains

Juno spots Jupiter's Great Red Spot

New evidence in support of the Planet Nine hypothesis

Scientists probe Neptune's depths to reveal secrets of icy planets




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement