What does a thought look like? Well, it’s hard to say. You can watch a person as he furrows his brow and scratches his chin in a facsimile of The Thinker. We can also stick a few electrodes on a person’s noggin and watch a computer as it measures electrical impulses in the brain and spits them out on paper as incomprehensible squiggles. But what does an actual thought look like? If we could crack open your skull and put a camera in your brain, what your brain look like as you read this article? Well, thanks to one fish test subject and a few clever scientists, we might finally have the answer.
For the first time in history, scientists have actually captured a thought on camera. They seem to be on a roll — just a while ago researches captured footage of a live giant squid and before that they developed fish nightlights.
Japanese scientists at the Saitama University achieved this seemingly impossible feat by modifying a jellyfish protein called GFP that glows when it detects a rise in calcium ions. They injected the proteins into the brain of a zebrafish and voila! Brain TV. Here’s a fish thought in action:
It’s probably thinking, “Why do I have such a headache?”
Actually, it’s a bit more primal than that. The researches tempted the specimen with a bit of food. What you’re actually watching is the zebrafish tracking the movement of a scrumptious single-celled organism. You brain probably looks fairly similar to this video when you eye a juicy hamburger, just on a much larger scale.
This breakthrough brings scientists one step closer to truly understanding the human brain. Who knows? Maybe one day shark brains and jellyfish DNA could hold the key to curing mental diseases. It turns out that water might be even more important for preventing Alzheimer’s than we thought — not only can tap water affect your chances of developing Alzheimer’s, but our little fishy friends might be instrumental in developing breakthrough treatments, too.
But what about the fish? Are scientists researching fish brains without giving anything back to the aquatic community? No — the fish are getting back a little bit of quid for their quo.
Behold the fish wheelchair!
This goldfish has damaged fins, which makes it pretty much impossible for this chubby fish to swim upward. The poor guy had to spend most of his days stuck on the bottom of the aquarium. Luckily, his owner equipped him with a bona fide fish wheelchair that increases his buoyancy. Now he can truck around the aquarium by using his fully functional pectoral fins.
Not bad, eh? Science and fish working hand-in-fin to make the world a better place.