The scientists work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and were experimenting with new ways that could help them enlarge the brain cells for a better resolution photos. They discovered by accident that sodium polyacrylate, a compound in baby diapers can enlarge brain cells and can be used in their research.
The scientists termed the new technique of enlarging the brain cells “expansion microscopy”. This new technique will help the scientists increase the brain cells tissue samples and see it in a better image resolution.
The scientists explained that this technique, called expansion microscopy, is actually very easy and is not very expensive, unlike other enlarging scientific techniques. All they need to do is to place samples of brain tissue, mix it with some water and put it into a polymer. The polymer makes the tissue swell and enlarge it for an easier photo imaging.
The researchers noted that the newly discovered technique expansion microscopy can be used for probing the structure of the brain, while other modern scientific techniques cannot.
Ed Boyden, one of the scientists involved in the new study, pointed out that experimenting with sodium polyacrylate used in diapers, allowed his team of researchers to enlarge the brain tissue to a good resolution, making it easier for them to examine it. Boyden added that it’s very difficult and quite expensive to take high resolution photos of brain cells. This is due to the fact that the scientists need to take two dimension photos. But the new compound found in baby diapers helps the brain tissue expand when placed in water.
Boyden stated that one of the main purposes of the new study is to recreate as accurately as possible how neurons in the human brain function. This area of scientific research is still one of the most important in the science field. President Obama has promised to help brain related scientific research by giving $100 million.
The new study that shows compound in baby diapers can enlarge brain cells, was published in the journal Science.
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