3ders.org – Transparent skull printed in 3D allows scientists to see how the brain works

April 3, 2019 | By thomas

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a translucent translucent transparent 3D skull implant unique to mice as a way to see activity in real time on the surface of the brain. The device, called See-Shell, could help provide a new perspective for conditions in the human brain, such as concussions, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

"What we are trying to do is see if we can visualize and interact with large parts of the mouse's brain surface, called bark, over long periods of time, this will give us new information about how the human brain works," said Suhasa Kodandaramaiah. , Ph.D., coauthor of the study and badociate professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota Benjamin Mayhugh in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. "This technology allows us to see most of the cortex in action with unprecedented control and precision while stimulating certain parts of the brain."

Traditionally, most scientists have focused on small regions of the brain and have tried to understand it in detail. However, researchers are now discovering that what happens in one part of the brain probably affects other parts of the brain at the same time.

To make the See-Shell, the researchers digitally scanned the surface of the mouse skull and then used the digital scans to create an artificial transparent skull that has the same contours as the original skull. During a precise surgery, the upper part of the skull of the mouse is replaced with the transparent skull device printed in 3D. The device allows researchers to record brain activity simultaneously while taking images of the entire brain in real time.

Technology allows researchers to see global changes for the first time in an unprecedented temporal resolution.

"This new device allows us to observe brain activity at the smallest level, focusing on specific neurons and at the same time get an overview of a large part of the brain surface over time," said Kodandaramaiah. "Developing the device and demonstrating that it works is just the beginning of what we can do to advance brain research."

A video published by the university shows an accelerated mouse brain scan as seen through See-Shell. "The changes in the brightness of the mouse brain correspond to an increase and decrease in neuronal activity, the subtle flashes are periods in which the entire brain is activated suddenly," the researchers noted.

Another advantage of using this device is that the mouse body did not reject the implant, which means that the researchers could study the same mouse brain for several months. This type of research on brain aging would take decades to study in humans.

"These are studies we could not do in humans, but they are extremely important in our understanding of how the brain works to improve treatments for people who experience brain injury or disease," said Timothy J. Ebner, MD, Ph.D. ., co-author of the study and professor at the University of Minnesota and director of the Department of Neuroscience at the School of Medicine.

The research is published in. Communications of nature.

Posted in the 3D printing application

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