Baby brain scanner photo

 Photos Uncategorized 2007 11 15 Babybig
My pal and IFTF colleague Jake Dunagan spotted this amazing image in an older post on the excellent Cocktail Party Physics. The doll is wearing a diffuse optical tomography (DOT) rig, an emerging technology used to scan an infant's brain using light. From Cocktail Party Physics:
Light passes out of one fiber optic cable, diffuses through the tissue, and is received by another cable. Yes, light does diffuse through tissue, as anyone who has ever held a flashlight up to his hand can attest. According to Joseph Culver, an assistant professor of radiology at WUSTL, "The flashlight's white light becomes visibly reddened because there's a window in the near-IR region of the spectrum where human tissue absorbs relatively little of the light." Anyway, based on this diffusion data, the machine's computer creates a 3D tomographic image based on whether the hemoglobin in the blood is oxygenated or deoxygenated to determine brain activity.
"From the minds of babes"


    1. Let’s be clear, it does, in fact, “cease to exist” for you, the observer. Better think about this some more

    2. I wrote this in prior without my username and am repeating; sorry.
      It is, in fact, true, a la Natalie P, that the “object”, to which we’re so seemingly attached, does “cease to exist”, as far as the observer is concerned. This isn’t philosophy 101 but rather just good 20th century science. Somewhat hard to “argue” because the object can’t be “considered” with out an observer. Thanks, Ted

  1. Natalie Portman, of course, being “Hershlag N” in that paper. And also, by “published”, I mean “was a non-trivial author”. She’s not the main author, and presumably any attention given to how clever she is for being on the paper must really annoy the main author, Abigail Baird.

  2. My physics friend told me a few months back of the myriad imaging techniques popping up all over the place. He was rather scathing – but then again he is a true MRI researcher.

  3. So when they say “tissue” that includes the skull? I’ve always thought of my skull as opaque. Like a box. With the tissues inside, ready to pop up one at a time.

    Personally, I would be happy to let someone shine a light inside my head.

  4. ‘shining a light’ isn’t really the whole story,

    we do this kind of research in my lab. and of course, ‘shining a light’ is how we describe it to parents but, in fact the light in NIRS, (near infrared spectroscopy is created with laser beams.

    We fire freakin laser beams through babies heads, and people let us get away with it. I love my job!

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