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Medicine

Hydrogel Process Creates Transparent Brain For Research 46

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-see-what-your-were-thinking dept.
First time accepted submitter jds91md writes "Scientists at Stanford have developed a technique to see the structural detail of actual brains with resolution down to the cellular and axonal/dendritic level. The process called CLARITY allows a 'transparent' view of the brain without having to slice or section it in any way. From the article: 'Even more important, experts say, is that unlike earlier methods for making the tissue of brains and other organs transparent, the new process, called Clarity by its inventors, preserves the biochemistry of the brain so well that researchers can test it over and over again with chemicals that highlight specific structures within a brain and provide clues to its past activity. The researchers say this process may help uncover the physical underpinnings of devastating mental disorders like schizophrenia, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and others.'"
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Hydrogel Process Creates Transparent Brain For Research

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  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @07:12PM (#43417755) Journal
    The brain is real, but not alive. MRI works on living brains, but usually still pictures. Functional MRI gives movies of activity on living brains, but at a lower resolution. This technique carefully washes away some parts of the brain leaving the fat cells, neurons etc intact. Then they apply electric current and study the connectivity.
  • Re:Interesting... (Score:5, Informative)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @07:27PM (#43417879)

    Doing this to a living brain would be "horribly unethical" in just about every way.

    This technique makes the brain transparent by gelling up the cytoplasm with a synthetic molecule, then washing out all the lipids.

    Lipids are fundementally necessary for proper neural function, and are the primary duty of glial cells to produce and deposit. Mylein is predominantly comprised of lipids. Without it, you would be a quivering and drooling moron. (On a good day.)
    [Glial cells chaparone the long axons of neural whitematter, and are the cells that wrap the axon in mylein, among other duties.]

    Doing this to a living brain would cause unbelievable neural harm.

  • by Anthony Castanza (2881747) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @09:03PM (#43418463)
    fMRI doesn't really track brain activity, it tracks blood oxygenation which is used as a reasonably good approximation of actual activity. Just a little nitpick.

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