This is an update to a previous Neuron News posting reviewing a new whole brain imaging technique–called Diffusion Spectrum Imaging–that tracks the flow of water molecules through axons to map neural interconnectivity. The research group has completed the imaging on a marmoset monkey, and the full three-dimensional animation of the result is now presented online.
The map was produced from a 24-hour scan of a dissected brain with a spatial resolution of 400 microns. View the animation and look closely at all of the intricate fiber pathways and interesting network patterns that are present. The level of complexity is not close to that of a human, but the system is certainly complex enough to begin the work on detailing the network to further understand brain function.
To be clear, each visualized pathway in the map does not represent a single axonal strand. However, it corresponds to hundreds of thousands of fibers that are all networked in approximately the same direction. So, this imaging technique does not resolve the network down to each individual connection, but an averaged view of large groups of connections.
“The Brain Unmasked” :: Technology Review by MIT :: August 6, 2008 :: [ READ ]