Austrian experts image live brain

Scientists at the University of Vienna, together with colleagues at MIT have developed a revolutionary approach to showing live brain activity in 3D.

Austrian experts image live brain
Photo: MIT

According to a report published this week in Nature, the scientists, including teams from the University of Vienna and MIT, have developed a technique to show neural activity (including the entire brain) of simple live animals in a video format.

The video link below shows the neural activity throughout the entire body of a specimen of Caenorhabditis elegans, a tiny nematode (we'll call him Charlie). 

The good news for Charlie is that he doesn't have to be sliced open to see what he's thinking.

Because he's relatively transparent, it's fairly simple to see what's going on, especially when his neurons are specially prepared with a fluorescent chemical that is triggered when the neuron activates.  

With 302 neurons, the nematode is a very simple organism, but the technique may be applied to other creatures in the future.  Mice and rats are in their plans, although humans are likely to be a challenge, given that our skulls aren't usually transparent.

The technique uses light-field microscopy in combination with 3D deconvolution, which essentially allows scientists to record a tiny flash of light every time a neuron is triggered, at the resolution of a singe neuron.
"It is as if you would be trying to infer a movie on the TV just by looking at a few pixels," researcher Alipasha Vaziri from the University of Vienna told Vice magazine.
A larval zebrafish brain was also imaged, but we didn't get his name.
For those who want the science stuff, you can check out the details here:

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.