Analysing organ or site-specific vascular structures by combining 3D imaging with mathematical frameworks
There are around 400 miles of blood vessels in the human brain, serving our most energy-hungry organ with oxygen and nutrients. Analysing these pulsing networks, though, is a real headache. Here, researchers test a combination of techniques, known as CUBIC, on a mouse brain. First, they ‘clear’ the tissues, using a chemical cocktail to wash away opaque molecules like fats so a microscope can zoom in on the details. But flying through this series of consecutive images – we might spot something missing. Machine learning helps to ’classify’ the vessel structures, separating their faint lines from the original images, leaving us flying through a ghostly mesh of blood vessels pulled from the brain. Further computer analysis extracts features from the vessel networks that may be tell-tale indicators of changes brought by ageing or vascular disease. In the future, CUBIC may help to extract maximum information from other valuable tissue samples.
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