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Transparent Brain Using Hydrogel Process

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posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 11:20 PM
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Three-dimensional view of stained hippocampus showing fluorescent-expressing neurons (green), connecting interneurons (red) and supporting glia (blue). (Credit: Courtesy of the Deisseroth lab)


www.sciencedaily.com...
Transparent Brain Using Hydrogel Process




Apr. 10, 2013 — Combining neuroscience and chemical engineering, researchers at Stanford University have developed a process that renders a mouse brain transparent. The postmortem brain remains whole -- not sliced or sectioned in any way -- with its three-dimensional complexity of fine wiring and molecular structures completely intact and able to be measured and probed at will with visible light and chemicals.



Profound implications and very cool.
edit on 10-4-2013 by retirednature because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 11:37 PM
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I would have included more in the OP but the servers screwed me once, and took a whole page away, which is the reason this one won't be long as well.

This IMO is going to be HUGE! Studying the brain, while having to physically look at it as a whole or in slices really doesn't translate as easily as some may think. Unless it's just me, I've always struggled with it. I once .worked at BODIES: The Exhibition and we spoke of advancements like this.




"Studying intact systems with this sort of molecular resolution and global scope -- to be able to see the fine detail and the big picture at the same time -- has been a major unmet goal in biology, and a goal that CLARITY begins to address," Deisseroth said.


But this advancement is not just amazing, because we can look at it differently:




Using fluorescent antibodies that are known to seek out and attach themselves only to specific proteins, Deisseroth's team showed that it can target specific structures within the CLARITY-modified -- or "clarified" -- mouse brain and make those structures and only those structures light up under illumination. The researchers can trace neural circuits through the entire brain or explore deeply into the nuances of local circuit wiring. They can see the relationships between cells and investigate subcellular structures. They can even look at chemical relationships of protein complexes, nucleic acids and neurotransmitters.

"Being able to determine the molecular structure of various cells and their contacts through antibody staining is a core capability of CLARITY, separate from the optical transparency, which enables us to visualize relationships among brain components in fundamentally new ways," said Deisseroth, who is one of 15 experts on the "dream team" that will map out goals for the $100 million brain research initiative announced April 2 by President Obama.


This advancement truly is a blessing, especially when it reaches the classroom. The best part being, that the stained used, can be flushed or taken out and replaced with new stains that will highlight new regions! That means, less waste, which is always an issue. Also, this technique most likely will find its way into other organs and tissues. Amazing.





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