Despite making significant advancements in the field of medicine, doctors and scientists still don’t know very much about the human brain. In fact, much of what we do know was discovered and mapped more than 100 years ago so to say it’s due for an update would be an understatement.
Matthew F. Glasser, a neuroscientist at Washington University School of Medicine, along with colleagues spent the last three years working on the matter. Sourcing data from the Human Connectome Project which involved scanning 1,200 volunteers with powerful brain-scanning equipment, Glasser and his team have plotted 97 new regions of the brain in addition to the 83 familiar regions for a total of 180 mapped regions.
The New York Times notes that previous attempts to map the cortex typically involved scientists looking at just one metric at a time – like, the arrangement of cells. The Human Connectome Project, however affords 112 different types of information that can be tapped into.
The scientists took the variables and trained a computer with data from more than 200 brains to recognize distinct sections of the brain. Once specific characteristics had been profiled, they tested the computer on another set of data and found that it could accurately pinpoint regions 96.6 percent of the time.
Glasser said we can think of the new map as version 1.0, adding that there may be a version 2.0 as the data gets better and more eyes look at it. The hope is that the map evolves as science progresses, he said.
Image courtesy Matthew F. Glasser