• Looking Into a Live Animal's Brain • MedicalExpo e-Magazine
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    Looking Into a Live Animal’s Brain

    The tiny nVista microscope (Courtesy of Inscopix)

    The California-based company Inscopix has created nVista, a tiny microscope that can fit inside a mouse’s head while the animal is alive and active. This new device will help neuroscientists observe neural circuit dynamics and understand how the neurons in the brain communicate with each other.

    Researchers place a neural activity indicator inside the animal’s brain. They then implant a lens probe in the target region before installing the nVista baseplate and attaching the microscope. The visualization process can now begin.

    The advantages of this new technology are multiple, according to Inscopix. It enables imaging the same population of cells in the same subject for days, even weeks.

    Researchers also can study multiple behaviors and capture the activity of over 1,000 neurons simultaneously in one field of view in a single subject. They can observe more cells than ever before in the neocortex, the hippocampus, the hypothalamus, the striatum and other regions, whether the animal is awake or asleep. Designed at Stanford University, the microscope has been made available to a small group of researchers for trials.

    About the Author

    Celia Sampol has been a journalist for 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national medias (Agence France Presse, Liberation). She's now the editor-in-chief of MedicalExpo e-magazine.

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