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Sponge Genes Hint at the Origins of Neurons and Other Cells
A new study of gene expression in sponges reveals the complex diversity of their cells as well as some possibly ancient connections between the nervous, immune and digestive systems.
The Brain Processes Speech in Parallel With Other Sounds
Scientists thought that the brain’s hearing centers might just process speech along with other sounds. But new work suggests that speech gets some special treatment very early on.
Neuron Bursts Can Mimic Famous AI Learning Strategy
A new model of learning centers on bursts of neural activity that act as teaching signals — approximating backpropagation, the algorithm behind learning in AI.
How Animals Map 3D Spaces Surprises Brain Researchers
When animals move through 3D spaces, the neat system of grid cell activity they use for navigating on flat surfaces gets more disorderly. That has implications for some ideas about memory and other processes.
How Computationally Complex Is a Single Neuron?
Computational neuroscientists taught an artificial neural network to imitate a biological neuron. The result offers a new way to think about the complexity of single brain cells.
Neurons Unexpectedly Encode Information in the Timing of Their Firing
A temporal pattern of activity observed in human brains may explain how we can learn so quickly.
‘Social’ Mitochondria, Whispering Between Cells, Influence Health
Mitochondria appear to communicate and cooperate with one another, both within and between cells. Biologists are only just beginning to understand how and why.
Can Machines Control Our Brains?
Advances in brain-computer interface technology are impressive, but we’re not close to anything resembling mind control.
Artificial Neural Nets Finally Yield Clues to How Brains Learn
The learning algorithm that enables the runaway success of deep neural networks doesn’t work in biological brains, but researchers are finding alternatives that could.