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LEDE: Scientists and engineers are trying to understand how the brain works in order to tackle mental disorders and improve quality of life.
Randy Atkins: In labs at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, Christof Koch leads research that uses specialized electrodes to stimulate pieces of brain tissue and see how nerve cells react.
Christof Koch: Some types of neurons respond very different to the same stimulus than other types of neurons…that’s important…to understand how does it all fit together in the brain and give rise to my perception, my thoughts.
Randy Atkins: Koch says a challenge is that each brain is unique. He hopes to reveal both more about that variety and the common ways our brains works.
Christof Koch: Once we understand the brain as a natural structure, we can then begin to dream how we can help the brain if it’s sick and ultimately how to enhance brain function in normal people.
Randy Atkins: The Institute’s data is on web browser for anyone to freely access and study. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.