Innovation from Stanford Lends CLARITY to Brain Imaging

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An innovation by scientists at Stanford University is making it possible to see an intact brain in ways never before possible.

Stanford researchers named the breakthrough imaging technique 
CLARITY, which (quite obviously) stands for “Clear Lipid-exchanged Acrylamide-hybridized Rigid Imaging/Immunostaining/In situ hybridization-compatible Tissue-hYdrogel.

Revealed by Stanford last year, CLARITY renders the post-mortem brain transparent. This tranparency enables researchers to view the communication pathways of neural networks in color and 3-D, without having to dissect the brain, as was standard procedure in previous methods. From a New York Times article on the technology,

Even more important, experts say, is that... the new process... preserves the biochemistry of the brain so well that researchers can test it over and over again with chemicals that highlight specific structures and provide clues to past activity. The researchers say this process may help uncover the physical underpinnings of devastating mental disorders like schizophrenia, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and others."

View this fascinating video to see an example of CLARITY, and learn more by reading this explanation from Stanford. Get a brief breakdown of the technique at IFL Science.


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