Real-time imaging of the whole brain's vessels and oxygen levels
Your brain makes up around 2% of your body weight but guzzles around 20% of the oxygen carried via your blood. Unsurprisingly, damage to your brain's blood vessels can have serious consequences, as happens in stroke, traumatic brain injuries and dementia. To better understand what happens in these conditions, researchers present a novel microscopy technique — ultrafast functional photoacoustic microscopy (UFF-PAM) — to image the blood flow and blood oxygen levels (pictured) in whole mouse brains quickly and in great detail. The team triggered different conditions in the mice: low oxygen levels (hypoxia), low blood pressure (hypotension) and stroke. UFF-PAM subsequently revealed rapid changes in their brains. This included the simultaneous constriction of blood vessels and drop in oxygen levels, seen at the level of micro-vessels, as a wave of electrical activity associated with stroke spread across the brain. This demonstrates the rapid, detailed data UFF-PAM can produce for brain research.
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