Dog MRI | Studying The Dog Brain | Inside the Animal Mind | BBC Earth

in atlanta united states neuroscientist greg burns is adapting a harmless medical technique to study brain activity in dogs okay so stand by we're gonna start the noise MRI is a technique that's been used in humans for over 20 years normally we use it to study what the brain looks like but with a few tricks we can actually do what we call functional MRI which looks at brain activity and by analyzing the data we can figure out what parts of the brain are doing what but doing MRI in animals is an entirely different game mainly because of the requirement that the subject has to hold absolutely still the need to keep still makes it impossible to scan most animals unless they're sedated not a good way to study their brains but Greg has teamed up with mark Spivak to devise a program to train dogs for the bizarre conditions they'll face the key is a steady supply of snacks well a lot of humans have difficulty taking MRI first of all there's the enclosure which provokes anxiety in many humans second there's the absolute motionlessness required and then there's the noise without proper conditioning and training the dogs would just run scared for the MRI those that respond well to training graduate to the real thing like Katie MRI is painless and does no harm it's at the very cutting edge of animal science and it's beginning to give us some fascinating insights Tricia we're going to begin the first scan with the localize are you ready one of Greg's earliest experiments is revealing an important clue as to what happens in a dog's brain when it receives information from its senses first he's looking at a visual signal so Katie's in the scanner right now and Patricia is actually giving katie hand signals so we've already taught the dogs through lots of practice that this means food okay so every time Patricia puts the signal up we're going to be looking in her brain what that brain response is and we're actually going to be looking at a very specific area called the caudate nucleus we also have another hand signal that looks like this and that means no reward after scanning many dogs Greg's results show the area of the dog's brain that responds if we look very closely we find that the area that's common to all the dogs corresponds exactly to the same part of the human brain that responds to reward rewards like money music food all the things that humans like it's also activating in the dog's brain even though Kady isn't actually seeing food she can take a piece of visual information and interpret it to anticipate that she will receive food and she's responding emotionally just like we do this was pretty amazing because it didn't have to be that way dogs could be so different from us than they you know it might have responded completely differently but that doesn't seem to be the case and when you think about what this requires the dog to do it reveals a complex chain of thought the results are showing their dogs and probably most animals that have brands and minds that are far more sophisticated than we ever gave them credit for

29 thoughts on “Dog MRI | Studying The Dog Brain | Inside the Animal Mind | BBC Earth

  1. does anyone care that they may get cancer ? this is radiation . and it accumulated the does just adds to the next . I wonder how they are now ?

  2. Thank god they use hearing protection for the dogs? these machines are like 120dB when operating…. rediculous they havent reduced the noise of them….

  3. I wish I can see my little guys brain maybe it would
    Show why he has seizures but I know he would not be able to just sit there

  4. I had a simpler test for it. Not extensive, but an MRI nonetheless.
    I wonder what the dogs were thinking when they were in the machine.

  5. did you hear that story scientists reported dogs use left hemisphere to process language instead of right hemisphere like human do, and forgot that all the dogs had MRI with tummy toward the ground…

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