WATCH | Researchers record brain activity in free-flying bats

13 April 2018 - 13:00 By Bruce Gorton

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland have figured out how to record brain signals in bats – while the bats fly freely.

The researchers attached a wireless device to the back of the bats’ heads, allowing them to detect how their neurons fired while they flew, giving them an unprecedented chance to see how their brains worked while flying.

"Twenty-five years ago, I was talking with a colleague about recording neural activity from a free-flying bat, and he looked at me like I had two heads,"  Cynthia Moss, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins and the senior author of the team’s research, published in the journal eLIFE, said in a university statement.

"To see signals in the brain when an animal is really looking at something, and then to see a neuron fire, was the Holy Grail for me," said co-author Ninad Kothari, a graduate student. "As this research goes forward, we can take the information we get from animals like bats, mice, and owls and put it into human terms to potentially help people with attention deficits."