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'Virtual' mouse brains now available online

DURHAM, N.C. -- A multi-institutional consortium including Duke University has created startlingly crisp 3-D microscopic views of tiny mouse brains -- unveiled layer by layer -- by extending the capabilities of conventional magnetic resonance imaging.

"These images can be more than 100,000 times higher resolution than a clinical MRI scan," said G. Allan Johnson, Duke's Charles E. Putman Distinguished Professor of radiology and professor of biomedical engineering and physics. He is first author of a report describing the innovations set for publication in the research journal NeuroImage. View it online at http://tinyurl.com/2upj7n.

Images on the website for Duke's Center for In Vivo Microscopy http://www.civm.duhs.duke.edu/, which Johnson directs, reveal examples of these innovations in action. In one video two different mouse brains -- one from a normal animal and the other from a rodent missing a gene linked to mental abnormalities -- seem to assemble themselves before the viewer's eyes, structure by structure.

Watch the video with Johnson at http://realmedia.oit.duke.edu/ramgen/news/brain_imaging.rm (RealMedia) or http://quicktime.oit.duke.edu/news/brain_imaging.mov (Quicktime).

After building up like time-lapse photos of opening flowers, the side-by-side brain images begin revolving as overlying tissues dissolve into computer-rendered transparency. What remains visible, seemingly floating over the bases of the animals' skulls, are two color-coded brain structures -- the ventricles and hippocampus -- showing different volumes resulting from specific genetic differences.

Under funding from the National Center for Research Resources, the new imaging technologies are being developed and shar
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Contact: Monte Basgall
monte.basgall@duke.edu
919-681-8057
Duke University
9-Jul-2007


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