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Data harvested from bits of living human brains

Brain slices
Slices of human brain tissue, extracted from patients during neurosurgery, are kept alive in a special bath of chilled, oxygenated fluid. (Allen Institute for Brain Science)

Zapping brain cells from living human tissue? It sounds like a creepy Halloween tale, but for the Allen Institute for Brain Science, it’s a clever way to understand more fully how the brain works — and potentially bring healing to future patients.

“It doesn’t creep me out at all,” Jonathan Ting, an assistant investigator at the Seattle institute who’s been deeply involved in the project, told GeekWire. “I feel like it’s our obligation as scientists.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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