Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Anatomy seen in stunning new light

The structuring of ducts in the prostate, from data acquired using an MRI scan. In older age, the prostate can often swell in size and, in this example, one side of the prostate is significantly larger than the other. (Simon Walker-Samuel/The Royal Society)

Think you know (or at least have a vague idea) of what your insides look like? Well, prepare to be dazzled!

At the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition, scientists from UCL's Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging are showcasing their cutting-edge imaging techniques that look out of this world.

Inspired by bioluminescence from fireflies and fluorescence from jellyfish, researchers have come up with a new technique that can make the internal organs of a body literally "light up".

The stunning pictures - part of an exhibit that also include tropical storms, crash investigations and insects' ears - show just how biomedical imaging has progressed leaps and bounds.

One image that looks like under-sea coral illustrates the structuring of ducts in the prostate, from data acquired using high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In older age, the prostate can often swell in size and, in this example, one side of the prostate is significantly larger than the other.

The brain and its major blood vessels in a mouse were captured using high-resolution, three-dimensional x-ray and optical computed tomography. Blood vessels are shown in yellow, while the soft tissue of the brain is shown in blue and green.

Other images include a lobe of metastatic liver where the contrast between cancerous and healthy tissue is highlighted in yellow and blue by the autofluorescence in the tissues.

There is also the chance to see brain morphology with its underlying vasculature (network of blood vessels) coated with an opaque resin to highlight the structure.

There is also a rainbow swirl diffusion tensor magnetic resonance image (a technique similar to MRI) of the muscle fibres in a mouse heart. Tract colour indicates the direction in which the fibre points in 3D space.

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