I have always loved amazing technology, because it’s hard not too and it’s just so cool. I am not talking about my beloved iPhone, although I think it is just one of the darnedest inventions ever. I am talking about crazy awesome technology, like The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, or the Mars Rover for instance. These fantastical miracles of modern science have truly marked the dawn of a new age; we are living at a time when science fiction turns real.
Yet despite all this technology, and the impressive achievements we’ve made because of it, we have not been able to figure out our own brains, the super computers located on all of us, just above our necklines. Powered by electricity, more sophisticated than anything we have been able to build so far, they are our oldest companions and our most stunning feature. No species, supercomputer, or a natural phenomenon has been able to stump us more than our brains. They are our hardest and most intriguing riddles, that we have never solved.
To figure out how the brain works, we have done some seriously educated guessing: we’ve invented spectacular technology to test our theories, and we’ve argued with one another for several millennia over every question, one at a time, only to ask a bunch of new ones once we’ve made any progress. And yet, we are only on the cusp of understanding just how ridiculously complicated, and magnificently baffling the brain really is. But we just made another leap forward.
This leap is called CLARITY and it comes in the form of a chemical treatment, which when applied to any organ can make it transparent. This offers scientists a completely new, mind-blowing, beautiful and crazy awesome way to look at our finest possessions. If so far scientists have been able to examine and study the brain by viewing thin portions of it on slides under the microscope, now, they can see directly into and through the entire brain, or large portions of it at a time, right down to the fine structures.
Devised by Karl Deisseroth and his team at Stanford University located in California, the treatment helps push research past the difficult boundaries presented by, well, brain slices on slides. Not only can we view the entire organ through and through, we can even apply it on brains of deceased patients or organ donors, opening new discoveries and breakthrough that, so far, have been considered science fiction.
It’s funny how the invention of CLARITY was celebrated at my home like a national holiday or an event of epic proportions. Maybe it’s because my husband is a neuroscientist, or that I write this blog, or because we love crazy amazing technology, but you have to admit that this is just so cool.– by Liz Belilovskaya
Based on the article published by Nature.com.