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New Way to Gain a Clear View of the Brain
NY Times ^ | October 10, 2011 | RITCHIE S. KING

Posted on 10/11/2011 6:40:42 PM PDT by neverdem

A group of Japanese neuroscientists is trying to peer into the mind — literally. They have devised a way to turn the brain’s opaque gray matter into a glassy, see-through substance.

The group, based at the government-financed Riken Brain Science Institute in Wako, Japan, has created an inexpensive chemical cocktail that transforms dead biological tissue from a colored mass into what looks like translucent jelly. Soaking brain tissue in the solution makes it easier for neuroscientists to see what’s inside, a step they hope will uncover the physical basis of personality traits, memories and even consciousness.

“I’m very excited about the potential,” said Dr. Atsushi Miyawaki, a researcher on the team, which published its discovery in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

The chemical solution — patented under the name Scale, a phonetic approximation of the Japanese word for “transparent” — could help neuroscientists map the brain’s underlying architecture, though that goal is still a distant one. At the moment, researchers are working to build such a map, called a “connectome,” of mouse brains, which are far less complex than human ones.

Ultimately, this mapping could be conducted on brains of different ages, Dr. Miyawaki said, providing a glimpse into how the organ develops and even how genetic differences might affect that development.

Dr. Miyawaki and his team have yet to try Scale on a human brain — their lab works with mice — but they plan to as soon as the gated process of obtaining a specimen is completed. He expects that the transparency solution will work just as well as it does on mouse brains.

Dr. Jeff Lichtman, a neuroscientist at Harvard University who is involved with the Human Connectome Project — a multi-institution effort to map a mouse brain, and then a human one — thinks that Scale shows...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: brain; connectome; fluorescenceimaging; graymatter; lightmicroscopy; neuroscience; scale
Scale: a chemical approach for fluorescence imaging and reconstruction of transparent mouse brain
1 posted on 10/11/2011 6:40:47 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

“I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.”

-Pslam 139:14 NASB


2 posted on 10/11/2011 6:44:12 PM PDT by Fester Chugabrew (minds change)
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To: neverdem

” transforms dead biological tissue from a colored mass into what looks like translucent jelly “

The evolutionary stages of the Liberal brain??


3 posted on 10/11/2011 6:49:11 PM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: Uncle Ike

Part of the make-up of Lute Fisk.


4 posted on 10/11/2011 6:50:20 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah

Not mutually exclusive concepts....


5 posted on 10/11/2011 6:52:13 PM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: neverdem

I skeered.


6 posted on 10/11/2011 6:53:15 PM PDT by Winstons Julia (when liberals rant, it's called free speech; when conservatives vent, it's called hate speech.)
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To: Winstons Julia

Ha ha ha.

I know their secret sauce.

We used to use it on boiled eggs to turn them into superballs.

Vinegar!

The bonus is that these scientists will be able to bounce those brains like super balls all over the Lab.


7 posted on 10/11/2011 7:30:12 PM PDT by BookaT
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To: neverdem

Perhaps the most transparent administration in American history has a brain they aren’t using available to donate?


8 posted on 10/11/2011 8:07:09 PM PDT by null and void (Day 993 of America's holiday from reality...)
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To: Uncle Ike
The evolutionary stages of the Liberal brain??

I just couldn't resist...

Moonbat

9 posted on 10/11/2011 8:09:57 PM PDT by doc11355
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To: El Gato; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Robert A. Cook, PE; lepton; LadyDoc; jb6; tiamat; PGalt; Dianna; ...
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2011 (2/3 to the US)

Women Have Stronger Immune Systems Than Men -- And It's All Down to X-Chromosome Related microRNA

Herbal Supplements May Cause Dangerous Drug Interactions in Orthopaedic Surgery Patients

National study finds vitamin E supplement may increase prostate cancer risk

FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.

10 posted on 10/11/2011 10:32:24 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem

Hopefully this stuff does not dissolve away more details than it reveals. Why some kind of computed tomography couldn’t be used on the original specimen — and there’s no danger of overexposing it because it’s not living — is a question to me.


11 posted on 10/11/2011 11:06:09 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (There's gonna be a Redneck Revolution! (See my freep page) [rednecks come in many colors])
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To: neverdem
a step they hope will uncover the physical basis of personality traits, memories and even consciousness.

Seems a stretch like attempting to discover a physical basis for the soul.
12 posted on 10/12/2011 12:28:48 AM PDT by BIGLOOK (Keelhaul Congress!)
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To: HiTech RedNeck; Polybius
Hopefully this stuff does not dissolve away more details than it reveals. Why some kind of computed tomography couldn’t be used on the original specimen — and there’s no danger of overexposing it because it’s not living — is a question to me.

"Because it clarifies tissue without removing water, the solution sustains genetically introduced cell labels — used to differentiate one neuron from the next — in a wet environment like the one in which they originally evolved. The labels are made of proteins that come from jellyfish and corals."

--snip--

"Scale is not difficult to make: It is a cheap mixture of urea (found in urine and fertilizer), glycerol and detergent."

IMHO, that's beyond the resolution of computed tomography.

From the quotes in the Times' article, they're using two naturally found molecules and the detergent in an aqueous solution to get images below the level individual neurons with the aid of fluorescent proteins, IMHO.

13 posted on 10/12/2011 10:14:24 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: BIGLOOK
"a step they hope will uncover the physical basis of personality traits, memories and even consciousness."

Seems a stretch like attempting to discover a physical basis for the soul.

While it might strike some as a metephysical quest, the dopaminergic system is involved in personality traits and memory, at least. Consciousness is vital for survival, e.g. fight or flight.

Check a search of "dopamine receptors" and "fluorescent proteins." (That period is there only for punctuation, not searching.)

14 posted on 10/12/2011 11:12:56 AM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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