A mouse, looking

This picture shows activity going on inside a mouse brain while the animal looks at a moving image and undergoes what’s called the optokinetic reflex.

However, the significance isn’t in what the visual shows, but how it was obtained. It is the result of a newly developed technique known as high-resolution functional ultrasound – the brainchild of a team led by Botond Roska from the Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology in Basel, Switzerland.

The approach, the researchers explain in a paper published in the journal Neuron, may well replace functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in many cases. The latter produces images of lower resolution, and is difficult to use on subjects that are awake and unconstrained.

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