Normally scanning the brain of a mouse requires the rodent be anesthetized because otherwise they don’t stay still long enough to get a good scan. Now that a miniature scanner has been made, no drugs are necessary and researchers can scan that brain while it is actually being used. Early tests have already shown them they were wrong about some base assumptions of brain chemistry. From Popular Science:
The researchers wanted to test whether the wearable PET scanner could be used to correlate dopamine levels with the rats’ movement. They found that the more active the rats were, the lower the level of dopamine — a counterintuitive result, because dopamine increases are associated with excitability and reward.
No word yet on if rat’s think tiny mobile PET scanner helmets are the new black this fashion season.