Prepare yourself: You cannot unsee imagery of the entire brain at work in real time. Click on the film from scientists at Yale University to see for yourself.
Up until now, brain imagery has been myopic, typically focusing on particular circuits or cells or molecules. This made it impossible for scientists to visualize the complex interactions across the brain—which was problematic, because brain activity is interactions between local neuron circuits and brain-wide networks. A multi-lab collaboration funded by the National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative has changed that by creating a method that other scientists can use to visualize brains in real time.
The images use two types of technology: mesoscopic imaging of network activity, and two-photon microscopy of single neurons. The labs are also working on adding fMRI imagery, which will allow researchers to potentially track learning and cognitive processing in mice.
“Merging widely different scales of understanding is a fundamental challenge in neuroscience,” said Michael Higley, associate professor of neuroscience and member of Yale’s Kavli Institute for Neuroscience, in a statement. “With this novel approach, we are bridging the gaps between molecular, cellular, and systems biology.”
The clip, by the way, is a mouse brain. Check it out below: