Whole nervous system filmed in action
The central nervous system is responsible for controlling the body's movements, but it has been understandably hard for scientists to see the network in action until now.
For the first time, a research team has been able to visually capture a more complex animal's neural activity as it moves.
They were able to watch the inner workings of a fruit fly larva by shining lasers on both sides of its body, a process called light-sheet microscopy. The method also allowed them to observe brain cell patterns.
Because high-resolution images were taken at a speed of five times a second, individual neurons were visible as they fired.
In fact, part of the group's achievement was in developing a more advanced technique, allowing them to take simultaneous images from multiple angles at a fast enough rate to capture these processes.
Previous studies had been limited to physically smaller animals like nematode worms or larger components like a larvae brain.
It is the team's assertion that neural networks should be assessed at a macro level in order to truly understand how they function.
The next stage of research will involve more complex animals.