Schizophrenia, a chronic neurological brain disorder, affects millions of people worldwide. It causes a fracture between a person’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, difficulty forming thoughts, and overall lack of motivation. Patients with schizophrenia have a higher suicide rate and health problems than the general population and have a lower life expectancy.
There is no cure for schizophrenia, but the key to treating it effectively is to better understand how it arises. According to Ruta Misutani, Professor of Applied Biochemistry at the University of Tokai, Japan, is the study of the structure of brain tissue. Specifically, it means comparing the brain tissue of patients with schizophrenia with those of people with good mental health, seeing the differences as clearly as possible.
“There are very few places in the world where you can do this research. This work would not be possible without a three – dimensional analysis of brain tissue.” – Professor Ruta Misutani of Tokai University
“The current treatment for schizophrenia is based on many assumptions that we do not know how to substantiate,” Misutani said. “The first step is to analyze the brain and see how it is structured differently.”
To that end, Mishutani and his colleagues at eight international institutions brought eight small samples of brain tissue – four from healthy brains and four from schizophrenia, all of which were post-mortemed – to 32-identity cards. Advanced Photon Source (APS), Office of Science User Facilities at the Argonne National Laboratory, DOE, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
In the APS, the team used powerful X-rays and high-resolution vision to capture 3D images of those tissues. (Researchers collected similar images of the Super Photon Ring 8-GeV [SPring-8] Light source facility in Japan.) X-ray vision resolution used in APS can be as high as 10 nanometers. It is 700 times smaller than the average red blood cell width and contains five million blood cells per drop.
“There are very few places in the world where you can do this research,” Misutani said. “This task would not be possible without a three – dimensional analysis of brain tissue.”
According to Vincent de Andrade, a physicist at Argon’s X – ray division, capturing images at high resolution is a challenge, as the neurons represented can be centimeters long. Neurons are the basic functional unit of the brain, a cell in the nervous system that transmits information to other cells to control the body’s activity. The human brain contains approximately 100 billion neurons of various sizes and shapes.
“The sample must travel through the X-ray beam to find neurons across the sample,” de Andrzej explained. “The point of view of our X-ray microscope is about 50 microns, about the width of a human hair. You have to follow these neurons no more than a few millimeters.”
These images show that the structures of these neurons vary uniquely in each schizophrenic patient. According to Misutani, there is evidence that the disease is associated with these structures. Images of healthy neurons were relatively similar, and neurons in patients with schizophrenia show many deviations from the healthy brain and from each other.
Misutani said more studies are needed to find out exactly how the structures of neurons are involved in the onset of the disease and to develop a treatment that can mitigate the effects of schizophrenia. As X-ray technology continues to improve – the APS is set to undergo a massive upgrade that will increase its brightness by up to 500 times – neuroscientists will be able to do the same.
“The APS upgrade will provide better sensitivity and resolution for imaging, and will speed up the neuron mapping process in the brain,” De Andrade said. “We need better proposals of more than 10 nanometers to capture synaptic relationships, the holy grail for detailed mapping of neurons. They can be reached with improvements.”
D-Android also used an electron microscope to map the brains of small animals – fruit flies, for example – and the technology would take a long time to represent the brains of large animals such as mice. A complete human brain. He said high-energy X-rays, such as ultraviolet light and APS, could speed up the process, and that advances in technology could help scientists get a more complete picture of brain tissue.
For neuroscientists like Misutani, the ultimate goal is to reduce the number of people with brain diseases such as schizophrenia.
“Changes in brain structure between healthy people and people with schizophrenia should be linked to mental disorders,” he said. “We need to find a way to keep people healthy.”
Misutani and his team reported their results Translational psychotherapy.
About Advanced Photon Source
The U.S. Department of Science’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) at the Argonne National Laboratory is one of the world’s most efficient X – ray light sources. ABS provides high-brightness X-ray beams to a diverse community of researchers in materials science, chemistry, ensed crystalline physics, life and ecology, and applied research. These X-rays are very suitable for exploring matter and biological structures; Elemental distribution; Chemical, magnetic, electronic conditions; There are many technologically important engineering systems, from batteries to fuel injector sprayers, all of which are fundamental to the economic, technological and physical well-being of our nation. Each year, more than 5,000 researchers use the APS to produce more than 2,000 publications describing impressive discoveries and to address biological protein structures more important than those using other X-ray light source research facilities. APS scientists and engineers are innovating the technology at the heart of accelerator and light source operations. Researchers have valued ultra-bright X-ray inserts, X-ray lenses up to a few nanometers, equipment that maximizes X-ray interaction with studied samples, and the collection software is widely used as an antidote to the findings of the ABS. Manages a quantity of data.
The research was carried out by Agon National Laboratory under contract number DE-AC02-06CH11357 using advanced photon source resources on the U.S. DOE Science User Facility, which operates for the DOE Office of Science.
Argon National Laboratory Finding solutions to national problems in science and technology. Argon, the nation’s first national laboratory, conducts basic and applied scientific research in almost every field of science. Argan researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state, and municipal agencies to help solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership, and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees in more than 60 countries, Argon is managed by Yuchicago Argon of LLC, the science office of the U.S. Department of Energy.
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