(CNN)Floating disembodied conscious brains that issue commands to luckless human minions may be a cliché of science fiction, but they are a far cry from the primitive, lab-grown "cerebral organoids" that real scientists study today. New research suggests that contemporary mini-brains -- even if inferior to their fictional counterparts -- are still capable of a surprise or two.
Evidence of dynamic activity, in individual and synchronized neurons, was seen across a network of cerebral organoids grown from stem cells in a preliminary study published Thursday in the journal Stem Cell Reports.
Dr. Hideya Sakaguchi, study co-author and postdoctoral fellow at Kyoto University (currently at the Salk Institute), explained in an email that the important thing here is not just the creation of a mini-brain but that a tool was developed to detect nerve cell activity. Someday, this new calcium ion analysis tool may help researchers better understand complex brain functions and neurological disorders.
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