In the future, when doctors read your mind they won't see repressed scenes from your childhood—they'll see neurons exploding like chains of firecrackers.
Scientists at Stanford have developed a method for observing real-time activity in the brains of mice. You can see the stunning results of the work in the video above.
One day, scientists hope to use the technique to study treatments for enigmatic brain diseases like Alzheimer's. To observe the brain activity, the scientists first had to bake a lab-engineered fluorescent protein into the mouse's neurons using gene therapy. The protein is sensitive to the calcium ions that rush through a neuron when it fires. They then implanted an itty-bitty microscope in the mouse's brain that can see an area of roughly 700 neurons.
The scientists have started a company to manufacture the device, so hopefully we'll see a lot more video like this. Watching the brain activity is incredible. The most advanced brain research just turned into beautiful modern art. [Stanford News]