Summary of Baby Diapers Inspired This New Way to Study the Brain

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Baby Diapers Inspired This New Way to Study the Brain summary
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  • Innovative


Neuroengineer Ed Boyden has a simple yet brilliant idea for studying the human brain: Rather than zooming in on the organ via microscopes, why not enlarge the brain itself? His remarkable methodology for expanding the brain uses an ingredient found in an everyday consumer product: disposable diapers. getAbstract believes scientists and innovators will draw inspiration from Boyden’s demonstration of his outside-the-box solution to a complex problem.

About the Speaker

Neuroengineer Ed Boyden works at MIT’s Media Lab, where he heads the synthetic neurobiology group.



The brain is a complex, highly dense organ: Just one cubic millimeter contains some 100,000 neurons and one billion synapses. Moreover, each neuron is home to many thousands of biomolecules. These tiny building blocks mediate the electrical impulses that enable neurons to work together to create thoughts and feelings. Alas, today’s microscopes and MRI scans can’t detect biomolecules. Thus, a crucial aspect of the brain remains uncharted. A 3-D map of the brain’s molecular structure could help researchers understand how biomolecules form neurons and how neurons, in turn, create networks.

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