The neurological research of the brain is one of the paramount scientific fields today, albeit, one of the most complex due to the limitations of technology. The state-of-the-art non-invasive 3D scanning of brain might soon be adapted to the research on humans. So far, it can give use insights of the brain structure and activity of mice.
The DOLI technique
The innovative technique used for brain research was called DOLI by the scientist working for the University of Zurich. DOLI is an abbreviation coming from the Diffuse Optical Localisation Imaging technique.
The new technology is using a special solution of fluorescent substance which is taken in the form of microdroplets. The substance used by the researchers in this case was based on the particles of the mixture of lead and sulphide. The particles of the substance are thus tiny that they are called quantum dots. During testing, these microdroplets were injected into a live mouse. As you can imagine, the bloodstream distributed the solution around the body.
The next step of the technology is using special cameras which are based on an extremely efficient system of short waves. The use of these waves allows researchers to adapt the widow of the near-infrared spectrum. As you can imagine, the cameras were used for tracking the fluorescent particles which allowed the researchers to get a deep cerebral network map of the mouse’s brain.
The advantages of DOLI
Previously, researchers were using microscopy techniques for this task, however, they were not efficient. The major problem was in the rather intense scattering of light. Obviously, this lead to rather unclear images.
The DOLI technique is a real breakthrough for the field of the neurology research as this technique is capable of creating a highly clear map of the brain. Furthermore the resolution of the image of such a map is extremely high depicting the capillary level of the brain.
One of the greatest advantages of Diffuse Optical Localisation Imaging over the previous methods is the fact this method is completely non-invasive. In this case the test was conducted on a live mouse and there was no need to harm the animal.
There were also non-invasive techniques in the past which were based on conventional imaging based on the widefield fluorescence effect. The images were taken in the spectrum of the visible light, however, their results were rather poor.
The perspectives of using Diffuse Optical Localisation Imaging
It is not difficult to imagine the significance of this new method for the future research of the brain. Not only is it non-invasive, but it also gives a clear image of the working processes in the brain. Undeniably, this is extremely crucial for studying the neurological diseases.
With the help of the extremely high resolution incomparable to any of the previously used techniques of biomedical imaging, scientists will have a chance for getting more accurate information and understanding of the neural activity of human brain. The technique can also be used for studying neurodegenerative processes of brain as well as neurovascular coupling and microcirculation which is taking place in this complex organ.
Pay your attention to the first stage of the research which actually did not take place on mice. For scanning, scientists used special so-called tissue platforms which were artificial brain tissues made of synthetic materials for mimicking this organ.
Of course, the technique is absolutely new an there is no exact plan for its future usage, however, some of the perspectives is the future development of new fluorescent substances which will be more stable than the currently used ones and will also be smaller and stronger.