Image of the Week

Holding Your Brain in the Palm of Your Hand

  • Published18 Dec 2018
  • Reviewed18 Dec 2018
  • Author Michael W. Richardson
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN

3D printed model of a brain
Stephanie J. Forkel, et al. King’s College London.

If you want to get your hands on a human brain to study, your options are very limited. Obviously, acquiring a healthy brain is impossible if a person is still alive, so researchers must limit themselves to post-mortem dissections in order to understand the physical makeup of the brain. But new technologies are changing that in ways you might not expect. The image above is a 3D printed model of a healthy human brain. One team of researchers took high resolution MRI scans of one of their colleagues, and compiled a 3D model of the outer tissue of the brain. After a trip to the 3D printer the researchers could hold a very accurate facsimile of their friend’s brain. While scientists are only beginning to explore the applications of such technology, this seems to offer an intimate view of the brain — one which a person would be lucky to get while alive.



Forkel, S. 3D-printed reconstruction of a healthy adult human brain. Wellcome Images.

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