Imaging: Postcards From The Brain

The brain, wondrous as it is, poses a special challenge for scientists. Mental disorders play out in a 3-lb. universe that is largely inaccessible without drastic--and extremely risky--surgery. At least it was until the 1970s, when the first crude pictures of the living brain were taken. Today researchers can peer into that universe with a variety of scanning technologies that capture the brain in action and send back beautifully detailed images that are the next best thing to being there.

The best results come from combining two or more scanning methods. Some capture the size and shape of brain structures; others...

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