How silent is the brain: Is there a "dark matter" problem in neuroscience?

Shy Shoham, Daniel H. O'Connor, Ronen Segev

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations

Abstract

Evidence from a variety of recording methods suggests that many areas of the brain are far more sparsely active than commonly thought. Here, we review experimental findings pointing to the existence of neurons which fire action potentials rarely or only to very specific stimuli. Because such neurons would be difficult to detect with the most common method of monitoring neural activity in vivo-extracellular electrode recording-they could be referred to as "dark neurons," in analogy to the astrophysical observation that much of the matter in the universe is undetectable, or dark. In addition to discussing the evidence for largely silent neurons, we review technical advances that will ultimately answer the question: how silent is the brain?

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-784
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Volume192
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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