The tiny movements, which are smaller than the width of a human hair, have been caught on film for the first time.
The discovery could lead to better ways of spotting concussions and other brain injuries before they become life threatening.
It also offers hope of developing cycling and motorbike crash helmets that provide better protection.
The US team used a revolutionary imaging technique to capture and magnify the movement of the brain every time the heart beats – in real time.
hey say it is a promising and very long awaited diagnostic tool for a bunch of mind disorders that may improve and hasten treatment.
These include weakened arteries in the mind called aneurysms that may result in potentially fatal hemorrhages.
Co-lead writer Professor Mehmet Kurt, a biomechanical engineer at Stevens Institute of Technology, NJ, said: “It really is proof of concept.
“We wished to see if we’re able to amplify the tiny motions of the mind with every heartbeat and catch that movement since it naturally happens – so without introducing noise.
“That is important if you are trying to accomplish what we want to do discover irregular motions in the mind to diagnose and monitor disorders.”
The brain techniques minutely with each heartbeat – on the order of ten to 150 micrometers which is significantly less than the width of an individual human hair.
The motions are so little standard MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) brain scans cannot film them at length.
The brand new technique, reported in Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, is named phase-based amplified MRI and was formerly created as the researchers were based at the University of Stanford, in California.
In the past 2 yrs they have okay tuned the technique to display it can be used for diagnostic benefit.
In experiments they attached a pulsometer that monitors heart rate to the wrists of healthy subjects and coordinated the timing of the beat with images of the brain, stitching the slices together to create a smooth movement.
An algorithm, tailored to the piston-like motions of blood and spinal fluid coursing through the brain, then intelligently magnifies the brain’s motion to a more visible scale while keeping potential noise subdued.
The resulting video images, reconstructed slice by slice, retain the spatial characteristics of an MRI.
The skull and all anatomical features are displayed at actual scale. But the pulse-driven motion is amplified significantly as they animate.
Co-lead senior author Dr Samantha Holdsworth, a medical physicist who is now at the University of Auckland, explained: “You can actually capture the whole head ‘nodding’ in the scanner due to the force of the blood pumping into the brain each time the heart beats.”
The technique was found by the researchers provided few errors and good visibility, particularly in regions of the mind that move most.
These included the mid brain and spinal cord, which helps relay sensory information.
It also spots movement in areas resistant to movement like the frontal cortex which is very important to planning, judgement and reasoning.
The united team applied the technique on two subjects, a control and an individual with Chiari malformation I.
The problem, present at birth, could cause many symptoms, including stiffness or headaches in the neck, because of malformations at the bottom of the skull and upper spinal area.
Unlike the control, video images of the patient showed abnormal brain movement in at least two places significantly.
The researchers will continue steadily to utilize the technology in clinical settings involving bigger amounts of patients with known medical diagnoses of varied conditions such as for example concussion, aneurysm and structural human brain abnormalities.
Prof Kurt, who’s known for his focus on concussions also, added: “Better visualisation and knowledge of the biomechanical properties of the mind could cause previous detection and monitoring of brain disorders.
“It might also help with avoidance, since it could cause the look of better helmets.”