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  • Brain Cartography: Modern-Day Explorers Are Mapping the Wiring of the Human Mind

    The Human Connectome Project (HCP) is an international consortium with more than 100 scientists, who aim to map out the wiring of the human brain, as well as produce a map of the cerebral cortex. They do this using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (DMRI) to track the various neural communications pathways through the white matter of the brain (the part that contains the axons, which transports the information, as opposed to the grey part which contains the cell bodies which are doing the processing of the information).

    Thus far they have finished acquiring information and are now analysing the data, hoping to learn which aspects of the brain circuitry are heritable and which are changed by experience.

    Van Essen calls himself a “brain cartographer” and compares the brain to the Earth: The planet’s surface, with its many geographic rumples and folds (known to us as valleys and mountains), is analogous to the wrinkles of the brain. While these geographical features are significant, the need-to-know information “is the political subdivisions and social organization—what we think of as states and countries—that are created by the organization and communications amongst the billions of people on the planet,” he says. Similarly, when it comes to understanding how the human mind works, what matters more than the location of the almost 100 billion neurons in the brain is how they are wired and communicate. The connectome Van Essen seeks is essentially a wiring diagram of the brain.

    A book by Sebatian Seung about the connectome can be found here:
    “Connectome: How the Brain’s Wiring Makes Us Who We Are”

    Voir aussi :

    David Van Essen
    Mathew Glasser

    #HCP #Human Connectome Project
    #brain #mind