A new study by the University of Otago has found similarities between the brain of bees and human brain activity. The team found that alpha oscillations in bees have similar properties to alpha oscillations in human brains. Alpha oscillations in the human brain are associated with brain functions such as attention, memory and consciousness.
Researchers believe the bee’s brain could provide new ways to understand how the human brain works. Human experiments are expensive, logistically difficult and time-consuming, and researchers are unable to record the activity of individual neurons in the human brain. Studying the brains of bees could allow scientists to overcome these limitations and apply this knowledge to research, potentially treating the human brain. In their study, the team used common bees from outdoor hives. In the laboratory, the bees are stimulated with a small electrode.
Scientists say it’s fascinating to watch how alpha oscillations in bees’ brains change during natural behavior. Bees can learn to associate smells with food just like humans do. The team now wants to determine how alpha oscillations change in different situations. Specifically, they wanted to know how alpha oscillations change when bees forage or sleep.
The researchers are now continuing the project. The aim is to further study the relationship between brain waves and learning memory. The team did not say how the microprobe was inserted into the bee brain. The study was conducted in collaboration with a number of universities, including the University of Heidelberg in Germany.