New 3D microscopy may enable disease detection

New 3D microscopy may enable disease detection

By Adrian Galbreth

A new type of microscope technology has been developed that may change the way that certain neurological disorders are identified by experts, it has been revealed.

It is the result of a partnership formed between Australia's Griffith's School of Information Communication Technology and the Eskitis Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, and could change the understanding of diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, the specialists claim.

They suggest that analysis of the conditions is set to take a step forward thanks to the groundbreaking technology, which will enable cell analysis using automated 3D microscopy.

It will utilise automated identification, separation and analysis of cells as complex as nerve cells in the brain and is something never achieved before, explained Dr Adrian Meedeniya, manager of Griffith's Imaging and Image Analysis Facility.

He explained: "Scientists and clinicians will be able to superimpose multiple data sets in three dimensions using automated techniques and then conduct detailed analysis of the data in a far improved way from the two dimensional microscopy that is currently available."

In recent years, microscopy and image acquisition technology has undergone something of a revolution, with modern microscopes generating massive multi-dimensional data sets that can easily fill an entire hard drive.

However, manually analysing these data-sets is incredibly time consuming and prone to human error and bias, so one of the main reasons for establishing the collaboration was to create the technology to efficiently deal with these huge sets, Dr Meedeniya said.

"We will be able to use this technology to rapidly increase our understanding of the way neuro-degenerative disorders affect nerve cell function in the brain," he added.

According to the specialist, the cutting-edge technology will be underpinned by neural network algorithms and be widely used in disease research within a few short years from now.

by Alexa Kaczka

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