New AI technique allows live look into brain processes

Researchers have developed a new method to look into the fine structures of the brain. Artificial intelligence (AI) reconstructs the tissue as precisely as it has never been photographed.

an x-ray image of a brain (symbol image)

The new method developed by the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) uses artificial intelligence (AI) to produce very accurate images – a kind of live 3D view of living tissue.

For live imaging, the researchers apply dye to the space around the cells. Then the negative shadow of the actually invisible cells is exposed, so to speak. However, if you want to image the tissue in 3D and decipher such fine structures as those in the brain, you have to work with high light intensities, which means that you can virtually watch the tissue being destroyed by the interaction with the light, explains researcher Johann Danzl.

Tandem laser and AI

To reconstruct brain tissue in 3D while it is alive, the researchers are now using light in the infrared range because this is gentlest for the tissue. They also changed the light patterns with which the sample is irradiated to increase the resolution in all three spatial directions. The key now was to keep the amount of light used as low as possible in order to influence the sample as little as possible: Each image point is scanned only very briefly (a few microseconds) with the laser beams, so that a 3D image of the tissue volume is built up after about two minutes. In this image, however, the structures are only roughly distinguishable from the background. The construction of the detailed images is done by AI systems.

Written by: sda

Photos: Keystone

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