Home » Featured » High resolution human brain map created, helpful in understanding roles of specialized brain regions in health and disease

High resolution human brain map created, helpful in understanding roles of specialized brain regions in health and disease

Map of the outer layer of the human brain, or cerebral cortex, showing where our sense of hearing (red), touch (green), and vision (blue) connects to the brain.Matthew Glasser, Ph.D. ., and David Van Essen, Ph.D., University of Washington.

Our thinking, perception and the ability to understand the language are processed in the outermost layer of the brain, the cerebral cortex. Knowing exactly where our senses and perceptions are shaped in the brain is important to unravel how aging, neurological diseases and psychiatric diseases affect our health. Scientists have used a variety of techniques to map brain organization over the past century, from examining tissue under a microscope for sophisticated brain imaging methods. However, these measures do not always reveal the same limits and boundaries in the landscape of the brain.

For a more complete picture of how the cortex, a team led by Drs is organized. Matthew Glasser and David Van Essen at the University of Washington in St. Louis combine several measures to create a cohesive map of the brain. The team collected data from magnetic resonance imaging of high quality (MRI) of 130 women and 80 male participants of Human Connectome Project (HCP) . The study was funded by NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research . The results were published in Nature July 20, 2016.

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The researchers measured the structural and functional properties of the brains of participants. MRI scans revealed the structural crust thickness and the amount of protective coating, or myelin surrounding brain cells. Functional MRI measured the brain activity of participants during the resting state and in performing various tasks, such as listening to a story, looking at pictures, or do math. Scientists used the data to help distinguish brain regions for their specialized roles and determine which activities correlated regions-its “functional connectivity.”

Researchers use a semi-automated approach to combine the data from these multiple measures, focusing on where at least 2 measures change together through the cortical surface. This approach allocates 180 different areas within each half-shell 83 subdivisions the previously known and confirming the identification of 97 new areas.

Next, the team found that the brain map created from the average data set could be applied to the new data. machine learning classifier trained to recognize the “fingerprint” of each cortical area. the algorithm for brain scans 210 additional participants HCP was then applied. The classifier found that nearly 97% of all brain areas 180 through 210 subjects. In some cases, the brain regions of the participants were not typical places; However, the algorithms derived data were still able to successfully identify and assign. As better data are collected with improved imaging methods, researchers have pointed out, some brain regions can have more subdivisions or be subunits of other areas.

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“These new knowledge and tools should help explain how evolved our bark and functions of its specialized areas in health and disease, and could eventually promise for unprecedented accuracy in brain surgery and clinical interventions, “says Dr. Bruce Cuthbert, acting director of the National Health Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Research by: NIH, USA

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