These cross-sections of a human brain were used for teaching. The collection had been neglected for decades when photographer Adam Voorhes first visited, in 2011. These images are taken from a book he published about the brains, coauthored with Alex Hannaford.
The University of Texas has one of the world’s largest collections of preserved abnormal human brains. The 100 or so jars contain brains that once belonged to patients at the Austin State Hospital, a psychiatric facility. They were amassed over three decades by Coleman de Chenar, the hospital’s resident pathologist, starting in the 1950s.
One jar, labeled “Down’s Syndrome” (above), appears to contain more than one brain, and possibly other internal organs. Many jars are missing labels; little is known about the people whose brains these were.
Some abnormalities are obvious, like lissencephaly, or “smooth brain,” a neurological disorder that usually leads to an early death. Many of the brains appear superficially normal but reveal swelling or hemorrhage once dissected. The collection has been scanned by MRI machines.
Correction: The original version of this article named Tim Schallert as the curator for the collection, but he passed away in 2018. The current manager for the collection is Marie Monfils.
The creator of the CRISPR babies has been released from a Chinese prison
He Jiankui created the first gene-edited children. The price was his career. And his freedom.
Aging clocks aim to predict how long you’ll live
These clocks promise to measure biological age and help identify anti-aging drugs, but there are lingering questions over their accuracy.
The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus
The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.
A locked-in man has been able to communicate in sentences by thought alone
In a world first, the man was able to ask for soup, beer, and even talk about his son for the first time since becoming completely paralyzed.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.