Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A New Map of the Cerebral Cortex

The map used in most textbooks to describe the functional regions of the cerebral cortex is admittedly rather old. Fortunately, it has just been updated. Using data collected as part of the Human Connectome Project, researchers examined over 1,200 brain scans looking at not one, but four features; architecture, function, connectivity and topography. They identified nearly 180 distinct areas of the cerebral cortex - more than double the number described in the past. The researchers also created a computer program that can recognize each area in an individual brain being studied.

What makes each region different and how they communicate with each other will likely be areas of active research for years to come. Of specific interest will be how the areas are involved in specific neurologic disorders. Dreaming big, we might imagine a future in which doctors could diagnose specific brain disorders from an MRI (magnetic resonance image), just by looking at changes in specific brain areas.

No comments: