The extraordinary amount of effort in doing this and doing this so beautifully makes it an outstanding piece of work. It will lead to a profound change in how people think about the brain, and become the default way of describing human brain activity for years to come. - Professor Timothy Behrens
Scientists at Washington University in St Louis have created a new map - published in Nature - by combining highly-detailed MRI scans from 210 healthy young adults who had agreed to take part in the Human Connectome Project, a consortium led by Washington University, University of Minnesota, and Oxford University.
Some scans were taken while patients simply rested in the machine, while others were recorded as they performed maths tasks, listened to stories, or categorised objects, for example by stating whether an image was of a tool or an animal.
Professor Mark Woolrich from the University of Oxford's Department of Psychiatry, is a consultant on the Human Connectome Project. He says: "The University of Oxford and FMRIB have made crucial contributions to the HCP by providing state-of-the-art analysis methods that, allied to cutting-edge imaging, have resulted in a database of human brain imaging data of outstanding quality. The data is freely open for use by researchers across the world, and it is hoped this will yield invaluable information about the relationship between brain connectivity and a variety of factors including genetic, environmental and behavioural."
See a video from Nature exploring the new map of the human brain:
This exquisitely detailed work provides a new framework for describing human brain activity, made possible by the use of very high quality imaging data and analysis techniques. Importantly, this can also be used to elucidate the differences in brain activity between individuals, a crucial step in understanding the variability we see across populations in both health and disease. - Prof Mark Woolrich
Read about the Human Connectome Project in The Guardian.
Read the full study - 'A multi-modal parcellation of human cerebral cortex' - in Nature.