Thursday, January 17, 2013

3 D Grid Brain

According to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, the brain appears to be wired in a 3D grid structure, which is continuous and consistent at all scales and across humans and other primate species. The structure is remarkably similar to crossbar switching, which is used in some chips and circuits. The new Connectom diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner can visualize the networks of crisscrossing fibers, by which different parts of the brain communicate with each other, in 10-fold higher detail than conventional scanners. The Connectom scanner’s gradients are seven times stronger than those of conventional scanners. Scans that would have previously taken hours, and, thus would have been impractical with living human subjects, can now be performed in minutes. According to researcher Van J. Wedeen, the grid is the language of the brain and wiring and re-wiring work by modifying it.

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