Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Brain Revealed

Reader GT, a neuroscientist by training, advises that a paper published in Nature yesterday represents a massive breakthrough in the field of brain research. The implications for biomedical brain research are profound. As I understand it, using a technique called CLARITY researchers have succeeded in rendering transparent once-opaque brain tissue by dissolving away the fats that otherwise insulate and shroud the neural material scientists want to examine. Without the fats, brain cells dyed with fluorescent markers may be visualized and traced to illuminate neural pathways in remarkable definition and, most importantly, the same tissue can be explored using different dyes multiple times. The New York Times reported on it here. The MIT Technology Review has a shorter summary that includes the full video that accompanied the original Nature article.

Update: Edited at 2:20pm April 12 at the suggestion of GT to address inaccuracies in the description of CLARITY. GT additionally adds about the chief author of the paper: "The potential impact of this technique's development cannot be overstated. If his previous development of a whole new field of neuroscience (optogenetics) were not enough, CLARITY renders Karl Deisseroth eternal. This is in less than 10 years as a principal investigator."

1 comment:

  1. I love reading about what my brain is doing. It is so interesting to learn what I must "know" because I do it every second. Kinda meta.

    ReplyDelete