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Nanotubes help neurons

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This is a bit old (I meant to post it weeks ago)


Italian researchers have managed to persuade brain cells to grow on a nanotube-coated surface - a breakthrough that could provide immediate help to good, old humans. The team found that the nanotubes actually boosted communication, or neural signal transfer, between the cells, which were taken from the hippocampus.

The research was prompted by the structural similarity of carbon nanotubes and neurons, according to a NanotechWeb report. "Neurite elongations [projections from nerve cells, such as the sciatic nerve or dendrites - Ed] are reminiscent of the cylindrical shape of carbon nanotubes," Laura Ballerini of the University of Trieste told the publication.

Along with her colleague, Maurizio Prato, she explained that this similarity, in combination with the carbon nanotubes's property of being conducting or semi-conducting, means that in principle, the tubes could be used to help reconnect non-communicating neurons, both structurally and functionally.

The nanotubes were processed so that they could be encouraged to dissolve in the organic solvent dimethylformamide. Drops of the resulting solution were placed on glass cover slips. Once the solvent had evaporated, the glass was heated, resulting in a glass substrate coated with nanotubes.

Once the surface was ready, the hippocampal neurons were attached to glass cover slips with and without nanotube coatings. Over the next ten days, the neurons grew similarly on either surface, and showed similar characteristics such as resting membrane potential, input resistance and capacitance. They also had similar intrinsic excitability.

However, frequency of post synaptic currents showed a six-fold increase in the neurons grown on nanotubes, compared to those grown on glass, demonstrating a significant improvement in the effectiveness of the neural signal.

The researchers say the breakthrough could have an immediate impact on the treatment of spinal cord injury, and in the design of chronic neural implants.

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In other words: The brain can be hooked up to computers directly with computers and damaged nerves can be somewhat fixed with nanotubes
The Matrix!!

For lack of a better response, sounds nifty :p.
Its a better improvement in what we got already like if there is a break in your spinal cord there is almost no hope for you and you can't move anything under your neck so this is a major step in terms of future recovery. :thumb:
Somehow I think this will need to be used with stem cells to fully restore the damaged nerves, I wonder will this be used to make neuro net biological computers
With that kind of technology and further studies we would be able implement comunication between humans and computers. It would take hundreds of times quicker to do tasks and technology would burst in the futuristic age. :heh:
this will be soo good for blind and deaf people and may even be able to help treat some disorders i think
It could also help develop artificial limbs that directly interface with the nerves rather than pick up signals trough the skin or musscle contractions allowing the user to feel trough the arm
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