Mapping the Brain's Highways

 By Azeen Ghorahi

 " 'The human brain has been terra incognita for as long as we’ve known it,' says Olaf Sporns, a professor of neuroscience at Indiana University. In 2005, Sporns co-authored a paper attributing the large-scale shortcomings of comprehensive neuroscience research to a lack of a foundational, anatomical description of the brain: In order to properly navigate this “unknown land,” he said, we must first draw a map.

Sporns proposed calling this map the “connectome.” As a thorough atlas of the connections in the brain, the name deliberately conjures associations with the enormously successful human genome map that had been sequenced two years prior. Now, four years after Sporns’ initial paper, the National Institutes of Health Blueprint for Neuroscience Research is launching the $30 million Human Connectome Project (HCP) in hopes of creating a comprehensive map of a healthy adult brain by 2015"

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Image from Flickr Creative Commons.



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