Scientists from the University of California, San Diego managed to create samples of miniature brains that can form active neural networks. Despite its small size, artificial organs are able to emit similar to human brain waves at a certain stage of development.
The pea-sized specimens, called "cerebral organoids," were created from human stem cells. After being placed in a special nutrient medium, they transformed into brain cells of several types and self-organized into complex 3D structures. About two months later, a team of researchers recorded bursts of brain activity of the organoid.
"The level of neural activity is unprecedented for in vitro experiments. We are one step closer to obtaining a model capable of reproducing the early stages of creating complex neural networks," said biologist Elisson Muotri.
The scientists used a machine-learning algorithm to compare the EEG characteristics of premature babies with the activity of cerebral organoids. According to Muotri, AI was able to determine the" age " of organoids, but between 25 and 40 weeks of development ceased to distinguish them from infants. For 10 months the researchers grew hundreds of samples of organelles. They also noted that miniature brains have "consciousness" - they are very rudimentary models.
"As a scientist, I want to get closer and closer to the mysteries of the human brain." I see this as a good start and can help people with neurological problems by providing them with better treatment and a better quality of life. But we'll have to decide where the border is. It may be that the technology is not ready yet, or we do not know how to control it," said the head of the research team.
Biologists suggest that in the future, organoids can be used to study the development of human neural networks, modeling diseases, studying the evolution of the brain, monitoring drugs and even creating artificial intelligence.