Take a psychedelic trip through 700 layers of the human brain

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When I was in elementary school, I was obsessed with the Visible Human Project. The idea that a person could be frozen solid and subsequently sliced from head-to-toe, one-third of a millimeter at a time (a process known as cryosectioning) was almost too incredible for my adolescent brain to handle.

It's hard to imagine how the allure of anatomy served thinly sliced could ever cease to be enchanting, but as I grew older, my fascination with the Visible Human Project waned. In fact, by the time I was in college, cryosectioning had actually become something I did on a regular basis in the lab; granted, I was sectioning zebrafish, not humans, but deli-slicing organisms into sub-millimeter sheets had nevertheless managed to transform into a remarkably banal exercise.

But yesterday, when I happened upon the video you see up top, I sensed the long-dormant fascination of my 10-year-old self stir within me. The clip, while brief, comprises 700 images of a cryosectioned human brain. Each snapshot corresponds to a single, horizontal brain slice, beginning at the top of the skull and moving downward in the direction of the neck, each slice progressing a mere .174-millimeters at a time. Taken individually, no one slice is particularly striking; but upon seeing the folds of brain matter contort, vanish, and materialize in such rapid succession, the compulsion to share it became too strong to resist.


[Spotted on It's Okay To Be Smart]
Video by yesterday2221, using images from BrainMaps.org