Window into the Mind
|Human Brain Cells|
Breakthrough Neuroscience by Imperial College London
Scientists have created a window into the brain, which allows them to watch in real-time and with incredible details how human brain cells develop, connect and communicate with each other. The potential of their approach may result in better understanding of brain conditions like autism and provide eventual cures.
Researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge transplanted human brain cells from volunteers into a mouse brain. It allowed them to study the way human brain cells interact in a natural environment.
The team used the technique to model Down Syndrome using brain cells donated by 2 individuals with the condition. They saw significant differences in the brain cells from those with Down Syndrome and those without it. They noted the cells are not as active as normal cells at a crucial stage of development.
Important to a Number of Brain Conditions
The medical research team says their approach can be used to study a range of brain conditions like dementia, Parkinson's, schizophrenia and autism. Their approach allows them to view in detail how cells communicate with each other. MRI's and PET scans aren't able to do that. The team is using a revolutionary microscopy technique - in vivo 2-photon microscopy - to see individual live brain cells and the connections between them.