Behold: A Thought Being Formed

Researchers capture the first such images, from a zebrafish
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2013 4:58 PM CST

(Newser) – Japanese researchers say they have captured the first images of a thought being formed in a brain, reports Gizmodo. The remarkable little movie shows a zebrafish thinking about a meal as prey swims nearby. Primitive thinking, maybe, but "this is a fundamental leap forward in our understanding of how brains work," writes Jamie Condliffe. Slate has a video explainer of how the images came to be here. (It involves inserting a gene into the fish that makes neuron activity increase in fluorescence.)

"The accomplishment is obviously a marvel in itself, but the scientists involved see it leading to a range of practical applications," writes Joseph Stromberg at Smithsonian. "If, for example, scientists had the ability to quickly map the parts of the brain affected by a chemical under consideration as a drug, new and effective psychiatric medications could be more easily developed." (Read more brain stories.)

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