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Brain Imaging--Vocal Learning Image 1
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Brain Imaging--Vocal Learning (Image 1)

February 8, 2011
Artistic illustration representing experiments using in vivo imaging to examine changes to dentritic spines as juvenile songbirds engage in the initial stages of song learning.

The birds were used in a study by researchers at Duke University Medical Center in which the findings provided fundamental insight into how the brain changes in juvenile male songbirds during the juvenile's critical periods for behavioral learning. The researchers wanted to see what would happen to the connections between nerve cells, or synapses, in a part of the brain where the motor commands for song are thought to originate. They employed high-resolution imaging to track changes to individual dendritic spines--important points of contact between nerve cells.


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