Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Image post 1: brain message superhighways

While most posts from The Mix feature a science story, we also wanted a forum to share powerful images coming out of UAB research. Regular image posts will be accompanied by a brief description, including how the image depicted might soon be important to science or medicine. The post will also link to the creator of the image.

Above is a face view of a brain’s white matter created by UAB graduate student Meredith Reid using an MRI technology called diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). The strands running through the image are axons, long extensions of nerve cells that form pathways carrying messages between the parts of the brain. The colors represent the spatial orientation of the axons, with one color for those running left to right, another for those running back to front, etc. Certain qualities of such images give researchers a measure of the integrity of white matter axon fibers, which promises to improve understanding of neurological disorders like schizophrenia. The work was done in the lab of Adrienne Lahti, M.D., professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology within the UAB School of Medicine. On a final, related note, it's also worth checking out the Human Connectome Project run by the National Institutes of Health.  

Note: if you have an amazing UAB research image you would like to share, please email

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