No, not like this

If you’re reading this, chances are you have a brain--a three-pound, pink blob of fat and water, sitting within your skull and automatically turning these squiggly lines on your screen into actual words you can understand. Historically, it’s been difficult to understand what different parts of the brain do, since the only way to look at a test subject’s brain is if the brain is already inactive, or if they have an extremely lucky head injury.

Brain Plush Toy

Besides, even if we had clear skin and bones, so that we could see all of our organs at all times, we still would only be able to see the surface of the brain, and not all the activity going on inside. Enter: MRI Machines. While X-Rays are perfect for looking at our bones, MRI Machines, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging Machines, can look past our skin directly at the more juicy (I assume) parts of our body. How does it work, you ask? The same way all magic works: with extremely powerful magnets. 

Even today, scientists can't explain magnets.

Our bodies are about 10% hydrogen, but most of it is concentrated in places with a lot of water and fat (remember at the beginning of this post, when I said the brain was a blob of fat and water? That’ll be important soon). Hydrogen atoms are just one proton and one electron, so when you magnetize them, they all align in the same direction.

Ateeeeeen-SHUN!

An MRI just takes this fact to the extreme, with an electromagnetic tube that you’re placed inside to calibrate your molecules, so to speak. The next step is to shoot radio waves through your body, which disrupts the magnets and returns a map of one of your organs or glands. And violà! You can see all the different neuron activity within your brain, while it’s still in your head.

 Brain Plush Toy

Unfortunately, it isn't easy to see a brain on a day-to-day basis. MRI Machines are quite difficult--and costly--to install in your home, and the only alternative is... legally dubious at best. Here's a cheaper and more accessible alternative: get your very own brain plushie! It may not have the exact realism of an actual real human brain, but it compensates with adorable softness. It's the perfect trade!

I Heart Guts
Please wear a mask, everyone! We can get through this!

Looking for even more Brains? Luckily Houston Museum of Natural Science has a few left. Stay tuned, iheartguts.com will have more plush brains once Spring finally appears!

comic-con-2013-iheartgutsWe worked hard, we played hard, we had a great time at Comic Con International 2013 in San Diego! Pictures are worth a thousand words, so here are my six favorite shots (you can see more on the I Heart Guts Instagram feed) from the week that was, from top left: The best part of my week? Spending five days with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Shelayna, whom I've known since middle school. She's the one with the big, uh, eyes (hey, buddy, my eyes are right here, okay?). Next up, Stormtoother! We were right next to the Walking Dead booth, so there were loads of zombies. Luckily, these guys didn't get a bite of our brains, but they did get photobombed by Waldo. We were also next to the Fox booth, so we saw a lot of celebs signing things for fans -- bladder had to get his pic taken with Kevin Bacon. That's the insulin monitoring kit of one of our fave diabetics, whose pouch was decked out with mad pancreii. Last but not least -- meet OB Gyn Kenobi, who actually was a real OB, posing with our uterus. Great fun, can't wait for 2014.