Posted on Jan 20, 2019, 7 p.m.
Chinese scientists are building a new powerful MRI to look deep into the human brain to learn more about its complex structure; suggesting the project will revolutionize brain studies and assist in creating future treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
The budget is greater than that of the world’s largest telescope at $126 million, which is also in China, and is being run by the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, and may be able to show a different world with phenomenon unseen before. The machine is being designed to provide resolution one thousand times greater than existing MRI scanners which can visualise objects up to 1 mm across.
The team suggests that they “might even capture for the first time a full picture of human consciousness or even the essence of life itself, so they can be defined and explained on how they work in precise physical terms.”
Still under construction the scanner will likely help to observe various chemical such as sodium, potassium, and phosphorus which are critical to brain function and are involved with passing messages through different neurons. Understanding how such chemicals move and operate could help to learn more about consciousness and cognitive diseases.
Not all in the scientific community believe that this endeavor will be successful such as Professor He Rongqiao of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing who says, “What exactly is a consciousness, there is not even a scientific definition; if you can’t define it how do you know what you see is what you are looking for?”
Whether or not this new MRI assists the scientists search to find consciousness, what is certain is that this technology could result in other significant findings such as brain structure to aid in research on cognitive diseases, and possibly gaining better understandings of how messages are transmitted through neurons. Hopefully this new technology will finally open new avenues that will lead to a much needed breakthrough in finding a cure for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.
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