How the first images from a live birth are coming back to life
ABC News article A new study has revealed that the placenta and the first signs of birth are being captured and replayed in the same brain region for the first time ever.
The study, published in the journal Cell, was led by Dr Jennifer Schulz from the University of Queensland and Dr Michael Deacon from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and was funded by the Queensland Government’s Science and Technology Development Programme.
“The study highlights that our understanding of what happens during birth is still incomplete, so we’re using a whole host of tools to try to figure out how that happens,” Dr Schulz said.
“It’s going to be a big challenge to capture images and to get them back to the brain in the best possible way, and we need to understand the neural circuits that are involved in the birth process.”
We know that the brain is a really complicated machine that’s wired up with a whole lot of different systems, so if we don’t understand how that brain connects with the rest of the brain and what happens in the womb, it’s going a long way to explaining the birth.”‘
Terrific’ discoveryThe research team used a special computer program that scans a live fetus and then plays back the brainwaves of that fetus.
It is an exciting discovery, as it means we can now capture the fetal brainwaves and then record the images as they are captured.”
I’m really proud that we were able to get those images, which are actually very accurate, back to our lab,” Dr Deacon said.
Dr Deacon and Dr Schultz are now working to recreate the images, with the hope that it will allow them to understand how the neural signals are processed in the brain.”
Once we get that, we’ll have a better understanding of how those signals come from the fetus and how they are processed into a baby,” Dr Sexton said.