Science Diary: Frontiers of the Brain – Hoping for Life

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Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries – a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. John Beggs is a Biophysicist at Indiana University, who is studying the interactions and organizations of brain cells. In our last program, two of John’s students, have just rushed back to his lab with a sample of diseased human brain tissue. They’re searching for causes and cures for epilepsy, and they’re trying to monitor the activity of these diseased brain cells.

Student 1: “We’re hopefully putting the tissue on an array in a couple of minutes.”

John Beggs and his students are hoping to record electrical signals from the neurons when the brain tissue is hooked up to an electrode

Student 2: “Okay, the day isn’t going as well as we’d hoped. We’re here looking at the activity on the array, well the lack of activity on the array, and we’re 43 minutes into the third slice and things aren’t looking too good. I think we have two more slices to go and it’s almost eight p.m. So, we’ll probably put these other two on and hope for the best.”

As time passes, it becomes less and less likely that the brain sample is still living and that they will be able to record any activity from it.

Student 1: “So we’re six hours post-op, and we don’t have good recordings from any of it. So, we’re going to the next slide. Student 2: Which is the last slice, which is frustrating.”
Student 2: “It’s a little bit after 9pm and we still don’t have any sign of life here, so I think we’re going to call it quits and shut down for the night. It’s been a good run, but”

To follow the progress of John Beggs’ work check out his blog on pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

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Science Diary: Frontiers of the Brain - Hoping for Life

Once a brain sample is collected, it's a race against time to keep the tissue alive long enough to record data.
Air Date:11/25/2010
Scientist:
Transcript:

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Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries - a glimpse of the world of science from the inside. John Beggs is a Biophysicist at Indiana University, who is studying the interactions and organizations of brain cells. In our last program, two of John's students, have just rushed back to his lab with a sample of diseased human brain tissue. They're searching for causes and cures for epilepsy, and they're trying to monitor the activity of these diseased brain cells.

Student 1: "We're hopefully putting the tissue on an array in a couple of minutes."

John Beggs and his students are hoping to record electrical signals from the neurons when the brain tissue is hooked up to an electrode

Student 2: "Okay, the day isn't going as well as we'd hoped. We're here looking at the activity on the array, well the lack of activity on the array, and we're 43 minutes into the third slice and things aren't looking too good. I think we have two more slices to go and it's almost eight p.m. So, we'll probably put these other two on and hope for the best."

As time passes, it becomes less and less likely that the brain sample is still living and that they will be able to record any activity from it.

Student 1: "So we're six hours post-op, and we don't have good recordings from any of it. So, we're going to the next slide. Student 2: Which is the last slice, which is frustrating."
Student 2: "It's a little bit after 9pm and we still don't have any sign of life here, so I think we're going to call it quits and shut down for the night. It's been a good run, but"

To follow the progress of John Beggs' work check out his blog on pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.

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