The human brain goes digital

Image: The brain observatory

The first-ever 3D human brain “atlas” is on the horizon.

Last year, neuroanatomist Jacopo Annese and his team at the University of California at San Diego’s Brain Observatory in the US sliced a human brain into 2,401 ultrathin slivers.

Now they’re mounting the slices on glass slides and staining them to reveal the organ’s neurons and connective fibres, after which they will digitally scan the slides and reassemble them into a zoomable 3D model that will illustrate the anatomy of the entire organ at a cellular level.

In time, they’ll continue to add examples of healthy and diseased brains, which should help physicians spot differences between them.

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