The Results of a 64 Million Times Sharper Scan of the Mouse Brain

Results of a Million Times Sharper Scan of the Mouse Brain
Results of a Million Times Sharper Scan of the Mouse Brain

On the 50th anniversary of American chemist Pal Laterbur's description of the first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), scientists commemorated this important medical event with the sharpest scans of a mouse brain ever.

Scientists from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the University of Tennessee, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Pittsburgh, and Indiana University, working with researchers from Duke University's Center for In Vivo Microscopy, have created MRI images 64 million times sharper than currently possible.

Each voxel, a 3D representation of a pixel, measured just 5 microns, or 5.000ths of a millimeter, in this MRI's ability to capture such detailed images. This means that current MRI equipment can detect some conditions, such as brain tumors, but can go beyond such a clear image to show organization and much more complex connections.

Such fine-grained imaging will help explain how the brain changes with age, food, and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's, according to the researchers.

Different Views on Neurodegenerative Diseases

"This is something that really enables," said lead author G. Allan Johnson, professor of radiology, physics, and biomedical engineering at Duke. We may begin to approach neurodegenerative diseases in a completely different way.

This MRI resolution is the result of nearly 40 years of effort at the In Vivo Microscopy Center and has only been possible thanks to some amazing technology. To record a single mouse brain, the scientists used a powerful 9,4-Tesla magnet (clinical MRIs typically have 1,5 to 3-Tesla magnets), an array of gradient coils 100 times more powerful than conventional scans, and a supercomputer 800 computer. They used computers.

Also, after the MRI images were completed, the researchers used light sheet microscopy to scan the brain tissue. By labeling specific cell populations, the researchers were able to follow the development of neurodegenerative disorders over time.

Using sets of mice of varying age and genetic makeup, the researchers were able to observe how the connectivity of the animal's entire brain changed over time, and how certain parts, such as the memory-related subiculum, changed significantly more than other regions. The images were also able to show how neural networks are destroyed by Alzheimer's disease.

The study paves the way for further technical advances to capture the human brain in such detail; this will give researchers better insight into how tissue changes with aging and what treatments might be helpful to prevent degeneration.

According to the study, funded by the National Institute on Aging, animals can live up to 25% longer with minor dietary and medication changes, Johnson said. So are their brains still intact during this long lifetime? They may still be able to solve puzzles. But will they be able to do Sudoku even though they live 25% longer? Additionally, we can now examine it. And when we do, we can easily apply that to the human condition.



Günceleme: 01/05/2023 14:55

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