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Staying Focused

Different routes to the brain for different nerves from the inner ear involved in keeping balance

11 May 2019

Staying Focused

Ever wondered why the world doesn't appear shaky when you go for a run, but whip out your phone camera and you're guaranteed to get the shaky cam effect? It's because your inner ears detect the position of your body and send this information to your brain's cerebellum, which coordinates adjustments of your head and eyes so you can focus your vision. Researchers investigate the different routes this information takes to reach the cerebellum by infecting cerebellar nerve cells in mice with a virus carrying a fluorescent marker. Subsequent imaging of the inner ear (pictured) allowed them to trace the routes taken by these nerve cells (green). Studying the electrophysiology, they revealed how depending on the route taken, direct or indirect, different subtypes of nerve cells in the cerebellum were activated. More research into these nerve networks will help uncover what goes on in balance disorders such as vertigo.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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