BEACON TRANSCRIPT – In order to unlock the secrets of the human brain, a team of scientists have managed to replicate the folding process of the foetal brain using a gel model. The scientists used a 3D model to study brain fold and how they are created.
This new study on the morphology of the human brain was performed by a team of scientists from Harvard, France and Finland. The project’s mandate is to discover how the brain creates its folds or wrinkles during the fetal stage.
In order to see the brain in action, the team of scientists created a 3D model using a gel with special properties. By seeing how the folds develop, the scientists could gain an insight on myriads of brain disorders.
According to the medical literature on the subject, the human brain being to develop in the 20th week of gestation. But the brain attains full functionality after a year and a half. Modern neurosciences have decreed that our brain uses wrinkles in order to store more wiring and perform more complex cognitive functions.
If we are looking for an analogy to explain this event, imagine that your brain is like a modern computer. Now think about storing solutions. You don’t need to store everything on your hard-drive as long as you have a memory stick and external, high storing capacity hard-drives. It’s the same thing with our brain.
During our evolutionary process, the human brain found a solution to fit a big cortex inside a small volume using folds. The greater the number of folds, the shorter the neuron wiring. This process leads to reduced response times, unlocking greater cognitive potential.
But little was known about the actual wrinkle-forming process. There were many theories on the table, but they were not backed up by real scientific facts.
It would seem that the joint team actually managed to demonstrate the actual process of wrinkle formation. The scientists used a 3D model to study brain folds.
The model used for this study was made using MRI scans and a special gel. According to the scientists working on the project, the outer layer of the brain replica was coated with a special elastomer gel, which mimics the brain’s outer layer.
And in order to induce cortical expansion, the process that leads to the formation of brain folds, the scientists dunked the make-shift brain in a special solvent. After being immersed in the solvent, the brain began to swell and several folds or shafts appeared on the model.
The make-shift brain behaved like a real-life human brain, right down to the size and position of the major brain folds.