Future Lab: Mapping the Network in the Brain

Brain trauma affects more than 2 million people in the U.S. each year because of accidents and participation in sports. But little is understood about the connections within the brain that can be broken but not detected. Using MRI scans, computer scientists are helping brain researchers to map the network of tracts-containing hundreds of thousands of axons-in the human brain. This research is very exploratory but promises to yield new discoveries about the brain. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Intel are exploring ways that computer vision could help surgeons diagnose and operate on brain injuries with precision and accuracy.

One Response to Future Lab: Mapping the Network in the Brain

  1. Hal says:

    It’s ‘tracts’ not ‘tracks’. Normal MRI doesn’t have the resolution to see them, but diffusion tensor MRI measures how water flows through the tissue. It flows down the axons more easily than crosswise, so this makes it possible to pick out some of the larger nerve tracts.