• Question: is old people brain moldy, and how does it feels when you touch it?

    Asked by Demetriana to Jonathan on 25 Apr 2016.
    • Photo: Jonathan Jackson

      Jonathan Jackson answered on 25 Apr 2016:

      Well, I study the brains of living people, so they’re still using their brains. I don’t usually touch them! I use big machines, called an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner or a PET (positron-emission tomography) scanner. You can see a picture of an MRI machine here:

      and a picture of a PET machine here:

      They look similar but do pretty different things. Usually you can get a picture of the brain that looks like this:

      This is a picture of the brain looking down from the top, which we’ve reconstructed using a few different techniques. What these things tell us is that old people brains are usually not moldy, but they have started to shrink a little as they get older.

      On another note, when I was in school I did get to play with old people’s brains, and they’re a bit squishy!