Quote Originally Posted by katinahat View Post
Ex vivo? I could be totally crazy here, but do you mean that the brain has to be outside of the organism in order to use this method? If so, I seriously skipped over something in the reading DTI is Diffusion Tenor MRI, right? I'm not sure how it's different from a traditional MRI-- I'm guessing that it has to do with the term "tenor", so it's a different pitch of resonance? And theoretically, would DTI would have limitations (with the image resolution itself) that this new method would improve upon?

Connectome is mapping the neural pathways in the brain, yes? Sorry, I don't generally chat about neuroscience, so I have to familiarize myself with the lexicon. Why wouldn't neuroscientists be excited about that? Because it's overwhelming, because brains vary so greatly, because it's tedious, because there are more important projects to be done, etc.?
Ex Vivo, means without life, so the organism is dead (in vivo is the opposite). But yes, this is an ex vivo techinique, from the article you linked, "First, the researchers removed brains from mice and put those organs in a cocktail of chemicals, including a plastic-like substance. When heated, the chemical cocktail transformed into a clear gel that clung like glue to everything in the brain — cells, molecules and all — except the lipids."

DTI uses and MRI but they're not done on your standard 1.5 Tesla MRI (what we would have if we hurt our back or knee or were getting migraines) they're generally done on at least 3 Telsa MRIs so they're a clearer picture. Pair that with MRS (which maps chemicals on a voxel wide basis) and graph theory (which predicts pathways pretty accurately, though it's still early in it's life) and we have a pretty good system going. We also have up to 10 Tesla MRIs, though they're not approved for humans yet. I believe humans have been tested in up to 6 Tesla.

Most of the neuroscientists I know think it's just a waste to do the connectome. First off, they probably won't be able to do it well because everyone is connected somewhat differently. We know the major pathways that are the same in everyone already. Secondly, there are much much more important research projects to be working on, but it'll "look good" when the project is done, so it got funding as an initiative. It's not like the genome where you can break it down to the ATGC basic level, neural pathways are so much more complex, and they change over time.

Make sense?