Posts Tagged ‘structural networks’

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Brains of Autistic Children Are Surprisingly Hyper-Connected

In this article for Discover Magazine, I explore a new study that’s found a new difference in the brains of autistic children: Different brain regions aren’t actually under-connected, as some researchers have believed – they’re actually hyper-connected, exchanging information much more than they would in a non-autistic brain. What does this mean? Could it point toward […]

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The Neuroscience Revolution Will Be Crowdsourced

In this article for Scientific American, I dig into one of my very favorite scientific projects: The Human Connectome Project at MIT. What’s the deal with all this excitement? What exactly are these researchers trying to accomplish? And how close are they to accomplishing it? The answers to all these questions may surprise you. Once humans […]

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A Secret Society of Cells Runs Your Brain

In this article for Scientific American, I talk about a new study that discovered some surprising things about a class of brain cells that’ve long been assumed to sit silently. Oligodendrocytes aren’t neurons – they’re support cells; and for a long time, their exact behavior was a mystery. Now, researchers are discovering that they take a much […]

The largest scale effort is the Human Connectome Project, involving a consortium of institutions here and abroad

Why Brain-Mapping Efforts Matter

In this article for Scientific American, I tackle some common criticisms of big brain-mapping projects like the Human Connectome Project and the Brain Activity Map. Are they too complex to be feasible in our lifetimes? Maybe so. Do we even know exactly what we’re trying to achieve? It isn’t always precisely clear. But I argue […]

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Skin Into Brain II

For the first time in history, scientists have reprogrammed a whole batch of skin cells into a self-organizing, functioning network of brain cells, says a new study. That’s right, y’all – Dr. Sheng Ding at UCSF is blowin’ up the stem cell research game once again – except this time, instead of just reprogramming individual […]

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The Intelligence Network

Intelligence isn’t a single process – but it still depends on the coordinated activity of some specific brain areas, a new study reports. In one of the most sweeping surveys in neuroscience history, researchers put patients with various types of brain damage through a battery of cognitive tests, and pinpointed the neural correlates of “general […]

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The Brain Grid

Connections in the brain aren’t all tangled up – they’re organized into a grid of tightly-knit bundles, says a new study. By applying mathematical analysis to the latest imaging technology, scientists have discovered that connective pathways are knit into a three-dimensional geometric pattern. When scientists first set out to map the connections in a brain, […]

Some clusters are juicier than others.

Connection Clusters

As our brains learn something, our neurons form new connections in clustered groups, says a new study. In other words, synapses – connections between neurons – are much more likely to form near other brand-new synapses than they are to emerge near older ones. As our neuroscience friends like to say: “Cells that fire together […]

Taking Vision Apart

For the first time, scientists have created neuron-by-neuron maps of brain regions corresponding to specific kinds of visual information, and specific parts of the visual field, says a new study. If other labs can confirm these results, this will mean we’re very close to being able to predict exactly which neurons will fire when an […]

Saving Faces

A brain area that’s specialized to recognize faces has a unique structure in each of our brains – and mapping that area’s connectivity patterns can tell us how each of our brains use it, says a new study. The fusiform gyrus in the temporal lobe plays a part in our recognition of words, numbers, faces, […]

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