Brief Introduction of Neurophysiology
Neurophysiology focuses on the function of the central and peripheral nervous system at the level of whole organs, cellular networks, single cells, or even subcellular compartments. Neurophysiology historically utilized electrophysiology - the electrical recording of neuronal signals between the nervous system. It helps diagnose and treat disorders related to nervous system malfunction, such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and epilepsy, which are affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Nowadays, neurophysiological techniques have been combined with other scientific disciplines, such as anatomy, genetics, molecular biology, computational neurosciences, or psychology.
Common Neurophysiological Techniques
Neurophysiological techniques often concentrate on tracking temporal dynamics and inner hierarchies of brain functional and effective connectivity, possibly clarifying some crucial issues underlying brain plasticity.
- Electroencephalography (EEG) and Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
- Electrocorticogram (ECoG)
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
Patch-clamp is an electrophysiology method used to study the electrical properties and functional connectivity of neurons with high fidelity. It studies ionic currents in individual isolated living cells, tissue sections, or patches of the cell membrane. The most commonly used mode is the whole-cell patch-clamp, in which the membrane patch is disrupted by briefly applying strong suction to establish electrical and molecular access to the intracellular space. Amongst, there are two main configurations: the voltage-clamp mode, in which the voltage is held constant allowing the study of ionic currents; the current-clamp mode, in which the current is controlled enabling the study of changes in membrane potential.
EEG and MEG are noninvasive techniques to detect brain electrophysiological signals with a temporal resolution of 1 ms or better. However, they often show low spatial resolution and poor signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) because of signal attenuation through the scalp and skull. Moreover, the spatial and temporal resolutions of EEG and MEG recording are also influenced by mechanical disturbances and electromyographic activities that may incur the artifacts.
ECoG can directly measure the signals from the cerebral cortex via neurophysiological implants without any internal and external source noises from the scalp and skull, resulting in lower tissue interference, greater precision, higher sensitivity, and reduced noise interference.
TMS is a non-invasive and painless method to detect the electrical stimulation of neural tissues, including the cerebral cortex, spinal roots, and cranial and peripheral nerves. It can be used to explore causal relations to behavior, assess cortical reactivity, evaluate the functional integrity of neural circuits, and map out functionally relevant brain regions.
Neurophysiology Applications in Diseases
Neurophysiology provides a range of important advances to help in the understanding, diagnosis, and even treatment of patients with neurological diseases. It has become a potent tool to reveal neural functions and dysfunctions.
Creative Biolabs is a world-leading services provider in the field of neuroscience. Equipped with our excellent scientists and integrated global resources, we have developed a full line of high-quality products such as antibodies, proteins, and cell lines, as well as customized services to promote your research process of neuroscience. If you are interested in our services and products, please do not hesitate to contact us for more detailed information.