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July 7, 2017

Most Detailed Scan Ever of the Wiring of the Human Brain

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 8.33.19 AM

From the BBC:


The world's most detailed scan of the brain's internal wiring has been produced by scientists at Cardiff University.

The MRI machine reveals the fibers which carry all the brain's thought processes.

Doctors hope it will help increase understanding of a range of neurological disorders and envision its use instead of invasive biopsies.

Nothing could have prepared me for the spectacular images produced by the team at Cardiff, along with engineers from Siemens in Germany and the U.S.

The scan shows fibers in white matter called axons.

These are the brain's wiring, which carry billions of electrical signals.

Conventional scans clearly show lesions in the brains of MS patients.

This advanced scan, showing axonal density, can help explain how the lesions affect motor and cognitive pathways.

Professor Derek Jones said it was like getting hold of the Hubble telescope when you've been using binoculars.

"The promise for researchers is that we can start to look at structure and function together for the first time," he said.

The extraordinary images produced in Cardiff are the result of a special MRI scanner, one of only three in the world.

The scanner itself is not especially powerful, but its ability to vary its magnetic field rapidly with position means the scientists can map the wires — axons — so thinly it would take 50 of them to match the thickness of a human hair.

July 7, 2017 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: smaller than a bread box.

Another: no moving parts.

A third: titanium.

July 7, 2017 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

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