With a "Wearable" Pet Scanner, Two Realms of Brain Science Merge

Rats are trying out the device, a 250-gram scanner-in-miniature. Scanning technology and behavioral observation can now work in tandem.

Brain scanning techniques, like Mri and Pet, have opened new provinces of neuroscience. It's nearly impossible to read an article about the brain without seeing the familiar heat maps featuring which parts of the brain "light up" during a given task. But there's a certain fundamental problem with brain scanning. Brain scans are supposed to tell us about how our brain normally behaves--but is there anything normal about lying under a giant machine scanning our brains?

The problem has been present in studies on rats, a species on which much basic brain research is conducted. Pet (which stands for postitron emission tomography) has been used for many years on rats, but to use it on them requires general anesthesia or another method of immobilizing them. Once you put a rat to sleep,
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