HomeNASAThe human mind breaks aside 10 instances as simply as polystyrene foam

The human mind breaks aside 10 instances as simply as polystyrene foam

Researchers used MRI scans and an algorithm to measure the stiffness and resilience to stress of the mind in dwelling individuals


14 December 2022

Human brain model on doctor hand. Doctor using pencil to demonstrate brain anatomy

Brains are surprisingly squishy


Although they might appear like they’re made out of rubber, human brains are softer and squishier. Their potential to withstand stress is like that of a slab of gelatine, and so they break aside extra simply than polystyrene foam used for packaging.

Nicholas Bennion at Cardiff College within the UK and his colleagues got down to develop a way for acquiring extra correct measurements of the mind’s bodily properties inside dwelling people. Most of what we find out about how mind tissue reacts to devices touching it throughout neurosurgery comes from organs which have been reduce into or eliminated and preserved in chemical substances, which might have an effect on tissue stiffness and resiliency.

Combining a machine studying algorithm with MRI scans of individuals mendacity face down after which resist shift the placement of the mind within the cranium, the researchers had been capable of work out completely different materials traits of the mind and tissues that join it to the cranium. They quantified how a lot the mind collapses when pressed on, the way it reacts to being pushed sideways and the way springy the connective tissues are.

“In case you take a mind which hasn’t been preserved in any approach, its stiffness is extremely low, and it breaks aside very simply. And it actually might be loads softer than most individuals realise,” says Bennion.

The staff discovered that mind matter collapses as much as 10 instances extra simply than polystyrene foam and that its resilience to being pushed sideways is a few thousandth of what it might be if it had been made out of rubber – that means its squishiness is similar to a slab of gelatine. Bennion says that the algorithm calculated that the tissues connecting the mind to the cranium had been additionally pretty smooth, presumably to guard the mind from shifting too abruptly.

Although researchers have lengthy recognized that brains are very smooth and really fragile, the brand new examine makes that notion exact sufficient to higher inform delicate surgical procedures, says Ellen Kuhl at Stanford College in California.

The brand new methodology, nonetheless, might not totally seize the way in which the mind deforms throughout motions extra violent than shifting positions, similar to head trauma in an affect sport or visitors accident, says Krystyn Van Vliet on the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise. In these conditions, the stream of fluids throughout the mind can change its materials properties.

The staff hopes their mannequin can now be used to foretell mind shifts that may happen doing surgical procedure for every particular person affected person primarily based on pre-operative MRI scans. This will likely remove the necessity for inserting and re-inserting devices into the mind till they hit the right spot, making procedures much less invasive.

Reference: Journal of the Royal Society Interface, DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2022.0557

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