Scientists have built a computer ‘brain circuit’, or artificial neural network, that mirrors human decision-making processes and sheds light on how circuits might be altered in psychiatric diseases, a new study published today in eLife reports.
The model identifies a potential mechanism for the impaired decision making that is commonly seen in schizophrenia, involving the reduced activity of molecules in the brain called NDMA receptors. These results provide new insight that may inform the development of future treatments for neuropsychiatric conditions.
“A major challenge in psychiatry is to relate changes that occur at nerve synapses in the brain to the cognitive processes that cause symptoms of disorders such as schizophrenia,” explains lead author Dr. Sean Cavanagh, who is an MBPhD student at the UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, London, UK. “Computational modeling of brain circuits can fill in these gaps. By altering the circuit model at the synapse level, you can make predictions of nerve activity and behaviors, and then test these experimentally.”
The team built a model that reproduces how the brain accumulates evidence and makes a decision. The types of decisions they were interested in were those that involve combining multiple pieces of information. For example, when deciding about where to go on holiday, we must combine information about many factors including the cost, weather and cultural experience. Initially, the team wanted to see whether their computer model showed the same decision-making bias that healthy humans show on these sorts of choices, called the ‘pro-variance bias’. This describes how humans tend to choose options with more variable evidence. For example, when planning a holiday and facing two options, people generally tend to prefer a holiday which is very appealing in one attribute but less so in another (expensive price, but excellent weather), when
TORONTO — Bell Canada and several cable companies including Rogers Communications will be able to keep their wholesale internet rates as they are while the federal telecommunications regulator reviews its decision to cut them.
The companies have been battling the 2019 CRTC decision to slash what network operators can charge independent internet service providers (ISPs).
The federal cabinet and Federal Court of Appeal have both refused to overrule the CRTC’s decision, but noted the federal regulator is doing its own review of the decision.
Canada’s largest independent internet company, TekSavvy, and its industry association have argued the new, reduced rates should be implemented.
The independent ISPs argue the wholesale prices have been set too high since 2016 and prevent them from lowering retail rates for their customers.
However, the telecommunications regulator said Monday that Bell and the cable carriers met the requirements to obtain a stay of the August 2019 order.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2020.
Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE, TSX:RCI.B, TSX:CCA, TSX:QBR.B)
The Canadian Press