Data & Analytics

Researchers Create Public Online Database of Neuron Info

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of British Columbia have created a publicly available online index of physiological information about neurons in the brain.

There are billions of neurons in the brain, which can be organized into approximately 300 types based on their physical and functional properties. The NeuroElectro Project aims "to accelerate the advance of neuroscience research by providing a centralized resource for collecting and comparing data on neuronal function," according to information from Carnegie Mellon.

In an effort to achieve this goal, the researchers have mined data from more than 10,000 published papers about the electrophysiological properties of different types of neurons. According to information from Carnegie Mellon, the researchers used text mining algorithms and software to scan the papers and identify the type of neuron studied and the electrophysiological data related to the properties of that type of neuron. The process also gathered information about how each of the experiments was completed and corrected the data to account for differences arising from different experiment formats.

The researchers were able to mine data about approximately 100 types of neurons. Since mining the data, the researchers have validated most of it, but visitors to the site can flag data for further evaluation and also contribute new data.

The researchers have published a paper in the Journal of Neurophysiology describing the data available and some of the analyses that can be performed with the online database.

The NeuroElectro Project can be found online at neuroelectro.org.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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