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Sculpture created from textiles, embroidery and real flowers to represent brain circuits involved in appetite and food intake

08 May 2023

Making Connections

Celebrated by an exhibition at its new building in White City, London in January, the MRC LMS launched a book and website with over 100 interpretations of the phrase ‘A Picture of Health’ gathered from a broad cross-section of society.

As their Picture of Health, research scientist Jane Goodall, neuroscientist Giles Yeo and storyteller Clare Goodall created a textile sculpture representing brain circuits involved in appetite and food intake. Read why:

"A healthy neuronal circuitry between the different control centres of the brain involved in appetite and food intake is important to maintain a healthy body weight. Broadly, three control regions – the fuel sensor, formed of the paraventricular (PVN) and arcuate (ARC) nuclei in the hypothalamus; the hindbrain’s visceral centre, which signals fullness and illness; and the reward centre, which makes eating feel nice. In this sculpture, the coloured lattice represents the overlapping layers of neuronal projections to these centres that occur in our brain. Red threads represent neurons that stop eating, green those increasing food intake and yellow threads represent neurons projecting from the hindbrain to the reward centre signalling a spectrum from pleasant to unpleasant. Purple threads represent neurons from the reward centre to the rest of the brain.The sculpture was made using a process that reflects a scientific technique called CLARITY which ‘clears’ tissue of lipids, leaving a 3D lattice which you can image using a high-powered microscope."

Read more in the Evolving Visions of Health collection drawn from the project by Anthony Lewis

Written by Lindsey Goff

  • Clip from a video by Jane Goodall, Giles Yeo and Clare Goodall
  • Video copyright held by Jane Goodall, Giles Yeo and Clare Goodall

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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