Yvonne Carts-Powell

Yummy rainbow-flavored brains

In Science on August 8, 2008 at 1:01 am

While considering the Matt Parkman’s mental powers (not to mention The Haitian’s) in “The Science of Heroes” I talked a little bit about the Harvard Brainbow project. In that case, Harvard researchers inserted multicolored fluorescent proteins into a developing mouse brain, which allowed them to literally see the difference between different neurons — which are usually all uniformly gray and white and all very very tangled. Changing colors helps sort the mess, but only on a small scale.

Now a researcher at Mass General Hospital, just across the river from Harvard, is doing something not quite so literal, but perhaps more helpful: according to a report in MIT Technology Review, neuroscientist Van Wedeen is using a sort of MRI called diffusion spectrum imaging to see what — broadly speaking — connects where. The article has a very cool video attached.


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