Brain Eater

This will be needed later (for a horror story), but the development is easily thought-provoking enough to merit this mention. Abstract:

Currently only electron microscopy provides the resolution necessary to reconstruct neuronal circuits completely and with single-synapse resolution. Because almost all behaviors rely on neural computations widely distributed throughout the brain, a reconstruction of brain-wide circuits — and, ultimately, the entire brain — is highly desirable. However, these reconstructions require the undivided brain to be prepared for electron microscopic observation. Here we describe a preparation, BROPA (brain-wide reduced-osmium staining with pyrogallol-mediated amplification), that results in the preservation and staining of ultrastructural details throughout the brain at a resolution necessary for tracing neuronal processes and identifying synaptic contacts between them. Using serial block-face electron microscopy (SBEM), we tested human annotator ability to follow neural ‘wires’ reliably and over long distances as well as the ability to detect synaptic contacts. Our results suggest that the BROPA method can produce a preparation suitable for the reconstruction of neural circuits spanning an entire mouse brain.

(Captured via Hanson on twitter. If you’ve been following the relevant lines of his thinking, one whole dimension of deep-historical significance falls into place automatically.)

May 9, 2015admin 5 Comments »


5 Responses to this entry

  • Brain Eater | Neoreactive Says:

    […] By admin […]

    Posted on May 9th, 2015 at 3:10 pm Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    people been fascinated to see how brain looks for long time now. there is evidence of some brain surgery in Peru performed about 900 years ago.


    Posted on May 9th, 2015 at 4:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brett Stevens Says:

    Our results suggest that the BROPA method can produce a preparation suitable for the reconstruction of neural circuits spanning an entire mouse brain.

    Imagine being able to model the psychology of liberalism (Kaczynski). It would more resemble the hunger of the obese than the analysis of the wise.


    Mechanomica Reply:

    Fantastic news. See also:

    “As soon as the latest generation of instruments is delivered and tested, which is planned to take over a year, the scientists intend to start the project. ‘I estimate that just collecting the data will take around two-and-a-half years,’ says Denk. In this time, around 40 petabytes of data will be generated. ‘We will manage the storage somehow, it’s the analysis we’re still worried about,’ adds Mikula. The results so far show that automated computer programs can recognize BROPA stained synapses and cell bodies quite reliably. But even rare breaks will leave the nerve fibers unacceptably fragmented. ‘I am confident that we, as a field, will be able to solve that as well,’ says Winfried Denk. Against the background of the deciphering of the human genome, this actually does not sound unlikely: When the first DNA sections were decoded in the mid-1970s, the sequencing of an entire human genome initially seemed as impossible as now does the connectomic mapping of an entire human brain.”

    If the usual suspects are too slow when it comes time to map the human connectome, I will be looking to acquire an unprincipled benefactor, an abandoned cannery, and a list of folks who will not be missed.


    Posted on May 9th, 2015 at 5:57 pm Reply | Quote
  • Brain Eater | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on May 9th, 2015 at 6:43 pm Reply | Quote

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