World's first 3D image of monkey brain developed

Beijing, August 3

Scientists in China have developed the world’s first high-resolution 3D image of the monkey’s brain, which could one day lead to treatments for diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

The Daily Mail reports that a team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing has created a detailed map of the whole macaque’s brain using fluorescent imaging techniques.

The team created a new technology, known as volumetric imaging with simultaneous in-flight scanning and reading (VISoR).

Using VISoR, they tested the brains of three 10-year-old macaques. The results were published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

The images turned out to be huge, taking up more than a petabyte of data – 1,000 terabytes or about 30 million HD movies. Because it captured billions of neurons in unprecedented detail, the team turned to artificial intelligence to study the results, the report said.

VISoR helped the team show how neurons are organized and wired inside the monkey’s brain with “micron precision”.

Researchers claim that the human brain is made up of nearly a hundred billion neurons with precise and intricate connections, and while it’s 17 times larger than those of macaques, it’s similar enough to make comparisons between the two.

So far, the mouse brain has been the largest ever mapped, and it takes days to create a full 3D image, but VISoR has made it possible to move to the macaque brain, which is about 200 times larger than the size of a mouse brain, the report said.

According to the researchers, VISoR may also help image other tissues and organs, including samples from clinical pathology.

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They note that this technology may help understand the precise three-dimensional structures of the brain and body, as well as how they change in different disease states.

“We hope that this technology can be further optimized for broader and broader applications, to make important contributions to the mapping and understanding of primates, and ultimately the human brain,” Duan Shumin, of Zhejiang University in China. Ian


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