A New Map and Understanding of the Brain

A New Map and Understanding of the #Brain

It's time to toss out our outdated map of the brain. It was created over 100 years ago - long overdue for an upgrade. We have a new map now, and it's loaded with new insights.

Prior brain maps were based off a single autopsy in 1909. Korbinian Brodmann observed a brain under a microscope and then drew it by hand. He based his map of the brain on the differences in the cellular architecture he could observe. Scientists have used this model up until now, but our new technologies help us map the brain down to .0001 cubic inches.

The new model is based on data from the Human Connectome Project. This massive, US government-funded initiative of over 1,000 participants observes how different areas of the brain work and connect together. 

To construct the map, Mathew Glasser at Washington University Medical School studied data from 210 people. According to Nature"he looked for areas of the cerebral cortex where he saw significant changes in two or more properties and used these to delineate borders on the map." 

The new model confirms the 83 previously identified regions and 97 areas of the brain that have never been identified before. This will help us identify and treat brain problems better than ever before. It may even open new portals for human development.

“Think of a spinning globe and the patchwork of countries it depicts: such maps help us to understand where we are, and that nations differ from one another. Now, neuroscientists have charted an equivalent map of the brain’s outermost layer — the cerebral cortex — subdividing each hemisphere’s mountain- and valley-like folds into 180 separate parcels.”

Each discrete area on the map contains cells with similar structure, function and connectivity. But these areas differ from each other, just as different countries have well-defined borders and unique cultures.”
— David Van Essen, Neuroscientist at Washington University Medical School

Via Nature

The above article was written by Josiah Hultgren, Founder of MindFullyAlive. 

A multi-modal parcellation of human cerebral cortex.
Matthew F. Glasser, Timothy S. Coalson, Emma C. Robinson, Carl D. Hacker, John Harwell, Essa Yacoub, Kamil Ugurbil, Jesper Andersson, Christian F. Beckmann, Mark Jenkinson, Stephen M. Smith & David C. Van Essen. Nature (2016) Published online 20 July 2016

Understanding the amazingly complex human cerebral cortex requires a map (or parcellation) of its major subdivisions, known as cortical areas. Making an accurate areal map has been a century-old objective in neuroscience. Using multi-modal magnetic resonance images from the Human Connectome Project (HCP) and an objective semi-automated neuroanatomical approach, we delineated 180 areas per hemisphere bounded by sharp changes in cortical architecture, function, connectivity, and/or topography in a precisely aligned group average of 210 healthy young adults. We characterized 97 new areas and 83 areas previously reported using post-mortem microscopy or other specialized study-specific approaches.