This new brain-scanning technique is literally mind expanding
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between science and technology ó almost all the time when it has to do with the brain. But this research from MIT that allows for vastly improved scans of the networks inside the brain is too cool to pass up, whether it’s tech, science, or somewhere in between.
Getting up close and personal with neurons and other brain cells is a science that people have been working on for a century and more. Mainly the problem is that they’re so darn small, and packed so tightly, and connect in so many places at once, that it’s hard to tell where anything’s going. We have ways of imaging the brain at various levels, but each is highly limited in its own way.
This new technique addresses several of the main problems. It’s called magnified analysis of proteome, or (conveniently) MAP. The summary from lead researcher Kwanghun Chung makes it sound almost too good to be true.
“We use a chemical process to make the whole brain size-adjustable, while preserving pretty much everything,” Chung says in an MIT news release. “We preserve the proteome (the collection of proteins found in a biological sample), we preserve nanoscopic details, and we also preserve brain-wide connectivity.”