Scientists develop world’s first 3D digital brain

Scientists have developed the world’s first high-resolution 3D digital model of the human brain. The reconstruction of the human brain shows it’s anatomy in microscopic detail, enabling researchers to see features smaller than a strand of hair.

The “Big Brain” will be made freely available to neuroscientists to help them in research, ‘BBC News’ reported. Researchers sliced 7,400 sections from the brain of a deceased 65-year-old woman, each half the thickness of a human hair.
They then stained each slice to bring out the anatomical detail and scan them into the computer in high definition. The final step was to reassemble the scanned slices inside the computer. In all, 80 billion neurons have been captured in this painstaking process which took 10 years to complete.

It was “like using Google Earth. You can see details that are not visible before we had this 3D reconstruction,” said professor Katrin Amunts from the Julich Research Centre in Germany, one of the researchers involved.

Professor Paul Fletcher, a psychiatrist at Cambridge University is scanning the brains of patients to learn more about eating disorders. He said Big Brain can help see details at the level at which brain computations take place.


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