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Science, The Scientific Journal, Recently Published the Research Result of the Corporation between National Taiwan University and Harvard University
Revealing the Myth of Brain Function: the MRI technique (magnetic resonance imaging)

How to prevent the neuro-related mental diseases? How to solve the myth of brain function? These have always been the big challenges in the medical area. There are approximately 1,000 billion nerve cells in a human brain, and each neuron connects to on another by extending with its long neuro fibers. Thus, How these nerve cells connect to one another and how they deliver the accurate signals by the highly complicated network? Are there any cures for the neuro-related mental diseases by accessing the correct methods? Professor Wen-Yih Tseng of NTUCM-COEBM (Center for Optoelectronic Biomedicine, National Taiwan University College of Medicine) and Professor Van Jay Wedeen of Harvard Medical School have just published their new research result in the latest scientific journal, Science, to present their discovery of the three-dimensional structure of the nero network in hopes they can solve the myths of brain function.

By using the innovative technique of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), Professor Tseng and his research team from NTU Medical School have discovered that the nero fibers of a monkey’s brain are constituted by a simple three-dimensional structure, which looks like a chessboard. This three-dimensional structure happens to be a balance in an organic object. It was a breakthrough and also a surprise to discover that the structure of nero fibers is the simple geometric structure, following the axial system in the human body, which is rare to be seen for scientists. The discovery also points out how the brain function tells the accurate sense of location in a certain space.

Such a simple three-dimensional structure has just been discovered for the very first time in human history because the conventional methods focused on the observation of partial neuro fibers, which are not sufficient for the complete structure. Professor Tseng and his research team developed the innovative technique, Diffusion Spectrum Imaging (DSI), to detect the direction and the length of each nero fiber in order to reconstruct the structure of nero fibers. Sincer the technology is not highly advanced to receive the accurate images from a human brain, the NTU research team operated the experiment on monkeys’ brains instead to do the high-definition Diffusion Spectrum Imaging, and this is how they discovered the three-dimensional structure of brain function.

The research result shows that the three-dimensional structure exists among four different species of monkeys. And according to the following research, the three-dimensional structure also can be found in human brain.

The discovery of the network structure of brain function helps understanding the development and the evolution of the brain network. First of all, it is very likely that neuro fibers develop their won chessboard network, following the extension of the body axial. And then, the nerve cells deliver the signals to the distant cells through this network. Therefore, the signals can be accurately delivered to the correspondent nerve cells in the distance for sure.

Currently, the scientists have been practicing this structure of brain network to analyze and to diagnose mental diseases in hopes they can solve the long-existing myths. The research result of neuro science has already shown that some of the mental diseases could be resulted from the malfunction or the disconnection of nerve cells; thus, the three-dimensional structure is very likely to be viewed as the biologic footnote of mental diseases. In other words, the doctors can diagnose the mental disease and to check the effect of medicine treatment by observing the changes of the three-dimensional structure before it is too late to go through any treatment.

So far, the clinical-approved MRI technique cannot provide the high definition to detect the complete three-dimensional structure in human brain due to the extremely complicated cortex. Since there have been more and more clinical cases of mental diseases and the needs of prevention and prescription in advance, NIH (National Institutes of Health) in America has already founded the Human Brain Project to provide the financial support for Harvard University to institute the equipment of magnetic resonance imaging. In comparison to the clinical MRI technique, the innovative invention can improve the results and help the scientists a lot observing the nero network of the human brain. In fact, the research of human brain has already been the top scientific project in the field of gene research.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taiwan has been supporting Professor Wen-Yih Tseng’s research team with their MRI system ever since the late 2011. The Ministry of Economic Affairs anticipates more and more professional researchers can be developed through this scientific project in order to promote the industry of medical equipment. Professor Tseng’s research team has already made the connections to the international medical centers and institutes to work on this research project for cases such as schizophrenia, ADD, autism, dementia, epilepsy, and strokes in hopes that we can develop the first prototype system of MRI technique in 2014. It is expected that the advanced medical technology can reveal and solve the myths of mental diseases.

Chinese version