The Neural Highway

April 3rd, 2012 | Brain

These images are from the video below from Van Wedeen, a physicist and radiologist at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

How do you build a brain?  In the March 30 issue of Science a team of investigators presents a surprising answer, reporting their discovery of a remarkably simple organizational structure in the brains of humans and other primates.  Employing sophisticated mathematical analysis of advanced imaging data, they found that the pathways carrying neural signals through the brain are arranged not in a disorganized tangle but in a curved, three-dimensional grid.

The diffusion spectrum MRI (based on the diffusion tensor imaging technology or DTI) is good news for those interested in finding an “ultimate solution” to the human brain.  If we can understand the complicated neural highway in its entirety, we’d certainly be a step closer.

It will be interesting to see how we can use this information to gain a better understanding of the brain’s function.  As they mention in the article, a more quantitative analysis of the pathways would be informative.

Anyway, these new imaging techniques that have been coming out lately are really breathtaking!

-RSB

[via Boston.com]

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