A group of neurobiologists from the University of California San Diego is studying the area in the brain that basically deals with making responsible decisions on the basis of past experiences. According to researcher Takaki Komiyama, after studying the data of about 10,000 neurons they could find a region in the brain named the retrosplenial cortex (RSC) and it is something that previously unknown in terms of value-based decision-making. The ability to make decisions is impaired in animals as well as in neurological conditions ranging from dementia to schizophrenia and addiction. The decision-making helps us at times of navigating or any other physical workout.
The team including Komiyama, Ryoma Hattori and their colleagues discovered the RSC to be the region for decision-making. The data-based on the current study is published in the journal Cell. The brain works in a different manner in terms of valuable decision-making when in a healthy or disease state. The researchers studied around 500 neurons from 6 different regions of the brain. The RSC, a region located in the cortex, gave in a lot of data as it is the center connecting the brain networks and functions. The value-based decision-making is the current focus of the study as it is a unique characteristic. The optogenetics was the technique used wherein the region was inactivated and then through light-activatable proteins, the neural activity manipulations were carried out.
The RSC’s interaction with the brain systems when making decisions helps provide a gist of basic neurological functions. The technological advancements have helped collect a lot of complex data which on further detailed analysis is expected to help understand the neuronal activity for improving the treatment means. The human stem cells give rise to nerve cells but their quality varies and hence, the researchers are looking for a more consistent result. The teams from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the University of Bonn, and the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine have successfully developed nerve cells from a single human nerve cell (pluripotent stem cells) through faster programming method.