Indexed on: 14 Apr '15Published on: 14 Apr '15Published in: Developmental Psychobiology
Neurophysiological recording of brain activity has been critically important to the field of neuroscience, but has contributed little to the field of developmental psychobiology. The reasons for this can be traced largely to methodological difficulties associated with recording neural activity in behaving newborn rats and mice. Over the last decade, however, the evolution of methods for recording from head-fixed newborns has heralded a new era in developmental neurophysiology. Here, we review these recent developments and provide a step-by-step primer for those interested in applying the head-fix method to their own research questions. Until now, this method has been used primarily to investigate spontaneous brain activity across sleep and wakefulness, the contributions of the sensory periphery to brain activity, or intrinsic network activity. Now, with some ingenuity, the uses of the head-fix method can be expanded to other domains to benefit our understanding of brain-behavior relations under normal and pathophysiological conditions across early development.