Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Water-based Brain Imaging

Normally when a patient is preparing to undergo neurosurgery, they are told that there are many risks involved. Every inch of the brain contains millions of nerve fibers that are all responsible for different functions. In order to get to the tumors, those nerve lines must be crossed, which poses potential injury due to lack of preciseness. Now, however, neurosurgeons at the University of California at San Diego have come up with a solution—water. It seems so simple, but the reality of the matter is that water travels in a specifically oriented way in brain nerves. By tracking these distinct properties, a color-coded map may be viewed to see exactly where the nerve fibers are. The biggest breakthrough with this technology is the fact that certain nerves that are viewed as more important such as sight and hearing may be avoided all together during surgery.

This article initially caught my eye because it didn’t seem feasible. How could something as simple as water be the solution to so many current neurosurgical problems? It amazes me that there are people that can figure these things out and create such advances in technology. I’m sure that the effects of this discovery will ripple through the medical field, much like other developments do. There is a possible chance that this technique may later be developed and used to interpret and diagnose neurological disorders and so much more.


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