Brain mapping is the study of the anatomy and function of the brain and spinal cord through the use of imaging, so a brain map tells you all you need to know about the structures in the brain.
For the past 100 years, scientists have been using the same map to identify 83 regions of the brain but this won’t be the case anymore. 97 new areas have now been plotted in our Grey matter by a team from Washington University in St. Louis working with the Human Connectome Project. This has brought the total number of regions to 180.
There is high hopes that this updated map will help to better explore the brain which may lead to finding solutions to schizophrenia, autism and other neurological disorders.
If you want to find out what the brain can do, you have to understand how it is organised and wired.
This team did more than just develop a well defined map, they also released an “alignment algorithm” so that the tests they carried out can be repeated by other researchers. The tests that these scientists carried out was on 1200 subjects who were scanned with customised MRI machines, packing three teslas of field strength. These subjects were all given the simple tasks such as listening to stories and doing mathematics so that they can see which region of their brains lit up. They discovered that certain brain areas were very involved with listening to a story while others mapped a person’s control movement or field of view.
On each hemisphere, 180 regions were defined, however, each can be further subdivided by future researchers. And knowing that the different regions of the brain perform different functions, they also assist in passing signals to other parts, in addition the Human Connectome Project had previously determined that strong connectivity between regions of the brain was a good marker for intelligence. So if you want to be more intelligent, get your brain regions to have a stronger connectivity….. just kidding.
With the help of the algorithm, doctors and researchers can map brains of other subjects quicker, say within an hour with about 97% accuracy even though the regions are irregular. Doctors can now easily find areas affected with disease and treatment could also be monitored. This findings may also help determine in the future what makes us different, you know, human.
Brain mapping is a set of neuroscience techniques predicated on the mapping of (biological) quantities or properties onto spatial representations of the (human or non-human) brain resulting in maps.
Brain mapping is further defined as the study of the anatomy and function of the brain and spinal cord through the use of imaging (including intra-operative, microscopic, endoscopic and multi-modality imaging), immunohistochemistry, molecular & optogenetics, stem cell and cellular biology, engineering (material, electrical and biomedical), neurophysiology and nanotechnology, according to the definition established in 2013 by Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics (SBMT).