Courtesy of Allen Institute for Brain Science
By Jon Hamilton
When the brain needs to remember a phone number or learn a new dance step, it creates a circuit by connecting different types of neurons.
Scientists still don’t know how many types of neurons there are or exactly what each type does.
“How are we supposed to understand the brain and help doctors figure out what schizophrenia is or what paranoia is when we don’t even know the different components?” says Christof Koch, president and chief scientific officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a nonprofit research center in Seattle.
So the institute is creating a freely available online database that eventually will include thousands of nerve cells. For now, the Allen Cell Types Database has detailed information on 240 mouse cells, including their distinctive shapes.
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