The research team of David Linden and Julia Brill (Johns Hopkins School of Medicine) seek to discover how cold temperatures protect the brain in oxygen-deprived conditions like cold-water drownings or cardiac surgeries that necessitate stopping the heart. Scientists do not know exactly how extreme cold changes the structure of the brain, or how connections between brain neurons – the synapses – are impacted under these extreme conditions. To answer these questions, researchers propose imaging synaptic connections in the living mouse brain before, during, and after severe cooling via time-lapsed videos, combined with a procedure to chill and rewarm the mice safely.

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