Imagine travelling through the brain, being able to map differences between individuals and perhaps even easily pinpointing the areas where the brain’s connections have ‘gone wrong’ in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia. By combining rapid automated electron microscopy analysis of normal and diseased brain tissue with new imaging technology neuroscientists are working towards doing exactly that. Pictured is a composite of false-coloured electron microscopy image of vanishingly thin sections of mouse brain tissue. Within the cylindrical area – which is ten times smaller than a typical sand grain – more than 500 nerve fibres and their junctions or synapses can be seen in unprecedented detail. With technology like this our most fascinating organ is surrendering more secrets of its structure and activity.
Written by Rhiannon Grant
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.