This is a brain tissue sample from a 45-year-old woman undergoing surgery for epilepsy. The sample, which was smaller than a sesame seed, is about a millionth of an entire brain’s volume. The sample was preserved, and then stained with heavy metals, which revealed the cellular structures.
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Computational programs stitched the resulting images back together and artificial intelligence programs helped scientists analyze them. A short description of the resulting view was published as a preprint May 30 to bioRxiv.org. The full dataset is freely available online.
Charting the varied shapes of some 50,000 cells and the 130 million connections between them, neuroscientist Clay Reid describes the image as “absolutely beautiful.”
“In the best possible way, it’s the beginning of something very exciting.”
More about this over at ScienceNews.
(Image Credit: Lichtman Lab/ Harvard University/ Connectomics Team/ Google)