The research team of the Laboratory of Neurophysiology of the Mind, led by Dr. Jan Kamiński, in cooperation with the group of Dr. Michał Kucewicz from the Gdańsk University of Technology, has reached another milestone in the field of human brain research. Thanks to the cooperation with surgeons, they were the first in Poland to record the activity of single nerve cells (so called action potentials) in the human brain.
The registration was made with two Behnke-Fried electrodes using low-resistance contacts to locate the epileptic focus (clinical goal) and microelectrodes allowing the registration of the activity of individual neurons (research goal). The medical team led by prof. Tabakow (Medical University of Silesia in Wrocław) implanted electrodes in the right amygdala and hippocampus of a patient suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy.
Importantly, the registrations took place during the patient’s stay in the hospital ward, when she was fully conscious and able to perform tasks engaging higher cognitive functions, such as memory or attention.
Recorded action potentials, analyzed by the research team of the Mind Neurophysiology Laboratory, were sorted (based on shape) and assigned to clusters reflecting the activity of various nerve cells. That is how, the team identified around 50 individual cells. Among them are visible cells, the activity of which increased selectively in response to a specific photo of a famous person (e.g. Rowan Atkinson, Johnny Deep, but also Polish celebrities and politicians, like Wojciech Mann or Adam Niedzielski).
The analysis and interpretation of the results will be possible only after collecting data from a sufficiently large sample of patients, but we are already looking forward to the potential opportunities offered by this project.