STATES CHRONICLE – The human brain is one of the most complex organs. There are many legends around its power. The most popular one claims that people usually make use of only 10% of their brain. However, what’s certain is that scientists need more studies to understand how this network of cells truly works. One of this kind of efforts is a recent initiative to build digital cell reconstructions of parts of human brains.
The Study Uses Living Brain Tissues that Would Other Otherwise Be Considered Medical Waste After Brain Surgery
The world of science has yet to crack the mysterious codes that put our mind into motion. How can our brain make us fall in love? How are people learning? Numerous other questions need answers.
On Wednesday, a Seattle team unveiled their reconstructions of living human brain cells through three-dimensional computer generators. The details are not only regarding about form and anatomy, but they are also depicting the electrical signals each cell produces.
The study stands at the forefront of modern neurology as this is the first time scientists used faithful human brain interpretations to monitor the electrical activity of brain cells. Until recently, studies were based on animal organs which cannot support the intelligence of human mind.
The program collects healthy pieces of brain which are considered medical waste after a surgery. Doctors are usually cutting aside the tissue of cortex to get to the source of diseased brain tissue and remove it. The brain’s outer layer that remains outside after the surgery is associated with memory, consciousness, and thinking.
The project collects these still living parts to study them under a microscope. Each element is then written down in digital form and becomes part of The Allen Cell Types Database. The library is open for everyone to study this type of data.
The Digital Cell Reconstructions Allows Scientists to Experiment for the First Time with Human Brains
So far, scientists worked with 36 brain samples of the size of an ice cube from which they extracted 300 living neurons. Out of these, 100 units received their 3D digital cell reconstructions. This collection constitutes enough data for scientists to start researching the human brain.
The Allen Institute for Brain Science has just received a five-year grant of almost $100 million from the National Institutes of Health. This financial support will translate into additional resources to extend the research on types of human brain cells.
Image source: 1