The Brain as We’ve Never Seen It Before
As much as great minds look outward to understand the universe around them, the giants whose shoulders we stand on also turn inward—seeking to understand the finite matter wherein a billion possibilities exist. Scientific progress has, debatably, eliminated the dichotomy of the mind and the brain. In other words, the study of the brain is inseparably the study of the mind; and the better we understand our brains, the better we understand ourselves.
A team of researchers has taken a long step forward in this endeavor, releasing a map of the human brain with nearly 100 previously unknown regions. “It’s a step towards understanding why we’re we,” David Kleinfeld, a neuroscientist at the University of California, told The New York Times (he was not involved in the study).
Scientists will use this map as a guide to addressing the many unanswered questions we have about our own noggins. From better understanding diseases like Alzheimer’s and conditions such as dementia, to better understanding phenomenon like synesthesia and the aging process.
Researchers used some cutting-edge techniques to create this map. According to The New York Times:
Scientists created the map with advanced scanners and computers running artificial intelligence programs that ‘learned’ to identify the brain’s hidden regions from vast amounts of data collected from hundreds of test subjects, a far more sophisticated and broader effort than had been previously attempted.
“This map you should think of as version 1.0,” said Matthew F. Glasser, a neuroscientist and lead researcher on the project. “There may be a version 2.0 as the data get better and more eyes look at the data. We hope the map can evolve as the science progresses.”