The brain is a network. It is not just a lump of neurons. It’s function and capabilities are entirely based on its structural characteristics as a network.
For neurotechnologies to be ultimately successful, a deep understanding of brain function will be required … in other words, to connect into the brain we must understand the brain. And, this understanding requires a complete realization of the network structure that develops from a lump of neurons.
Recently published in PLoS Biology, is exciting research using a new method of brain imaging called diffusion imaging. This method uses magnetic resonance to monitor the movement of water molecules along the neuronal axons that are interconnected throughout the brain. This level of detail of a network map in a living brain has never been achieved before, and this initial work is just a first draft of low-resolution mapping.
Already in these low-res maps, intricate and even familiar structure is being discovered … network structure that is also seen in other forms of complex networks, including the Internet. The main discovery is of a primary node that is super-connected to many other nodes located in the posterior medial and parietal cerebral cortex; i.e., the back of the head.
This is extremely critical work and very exciting. Remember, it’s all about the network structure. This author is currently reviewing the published article, and will be updating Neuron News will an additional review soon.
“First Detailed Map of the Human Cortex” :: MIT Technology Review :: July 7, 2008 :: [ READ ]
Read the PLoS Synopsis…
“From Structure to Function: Mapping the Connection Matrix of the Human Brain”
PLoS Biology Vol. 6, No. 7, e164 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060164
“Mapping the Structural Core of Human Cerebral Cortex”
Hagmann P, Cammoun L, Gigandet X, Meuli R, Honey CJ, et al.
PLoS Biology Vol. 6, No. 7, e159 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060159
[ READ PDF ]