Neuroscientists have an extraordinary challenge to see how the brain works. It functions so quickly and is so densely populated with neuron networks and their supporting cells, technology is not yet advanced enough to allow us to see everything at once. But new methods and technologies are constantly evolving; here’s an image of a whole Zebrafish brain caught in the process sending messages. Every bright spot in the picture is an individual neuron filled with calcium – an ion that floods into the nerve cell when it sends a message. This method enables researchers to see how the whole brain works together and see how the activation of single neurons add together in the larger network. With methods like this it could be possible to map the function of every neuron network in the brain, helping to pinpoint the cause of disorders like epilepsy or schizophrenia.
Written by Mary-Clare Hallsworth
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.