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What exactly is brain mapping?

What exactly is brain mapping?


Brain mapping can capture a window of brain activity. The brain is a multi-billion neuron organ. Neurons communicate with every cell in your body. It is carried by electrical impulses that form brain waves. This application helps us analyze your brainwaves and find ways to improve communication across different brain regions.

How Brain Mapping Works


The human brain has around 100 billion neurons and supporting cells. It can write sonnets and build planes. Elephants’ brains are bigger, heavier, and have more neurons than ours, but they lack talent. Intrigued? Scientists are. That’s why they’re mapping the human brain, a task that could take decades.

Brain mapping seeks to connect the brain’s anatomy to function, or which areas give us certain talents. What area of our brain allows us to be creative or logical? It’s called functional localization.

When mapping brain function, scientists use imaging to watch the brain in action. Charles Wilson, a neurobiologist at UTSA, explains how the function is localized:

There are parts of the brain that deal with vision and others with sound. Can we ask whether there is a section of the brain that recognizes red items and another that recognizes green stuff? Or does the same area detect both?

what happens in the brain during mental diseases?


Brain mapping also analyzes the brain from the outside. It studies how our environment impacts our brain structure, such as how the brain changes through learning and aging. Brain mapping also examines what happens in the brain during mental diseases and other brain disorders.

Finally, brain mapping aims to provide a comprehensive picture of our brain. Our earth shows in Google Earth via satellite photos, and we can zoom in on continents and countries. A full brain structure map would look like this. An fMRI might show us our complete brain: regions, functional lobes, specialized centers, thick neuron “bundles” connecting brain sections, neuron circuits, and single neurons. Scientists are still working on the components of this massive atlas.

Brain mapping is a term that relates to many tools. Researchers must acquire brain images, translate them to data, and then analyze brain development.

Brain Mapping Tools and Techniques


Scientists use several methods to study the brain’s anatomy and function. They photograph healthy and sick brains. also Scientists study human, monkey, and micro mammalian brains to learn more about invertebrates’ neural systems. They study small neurons as well.

Here are several tools for brain mapping. It provides brain images:


  • CAT scans the brain from multiple angles, identifying structural abnormalities.
  • It uses the brain’s water to produce images with higher resolution than a CT scan.
  • Diffusion tensor MRI (DTI) shows “tracts” of neurons connecting brain areas by detecting water movement.


Brain activity is monitored in the following ways:


It employs electrodes implanted in the brain or worn on a cap to determine electrically active brain areas.

  • PET employs radioactive markers to make images of the brain.
  • fMRI provides images of brain activity while patients execute tasks.
  • PhMRI visualizes brain activity in response to medicine delivery.


A new method allows researchers to see all the connections between neurons in an undamaged brain. Connectomics is the study of connections. The connectome is the brain’s “wiring diagram” (Lichtman).

“We couldn’t get these wiring diagrams until recently,” says Jeff Lichtman, a Harvard biologist who led the team that developed the new techniques. “We could see individual cells, but not all at once.”


Brain Mapping’s Uses


Why would scientists bother to map the human brain? The solution, according to Lichtman, is to better understand our brains. We’ve never seen a diagram showing all of the brain’s connections. So we want to see what’s truly there.

The brain’s wiring structure may help us comprehend how people learn and adapt, says Lichtman. By adulthood, we can use devices that our genetic inheritance could never teach our neurological system, like iPods. No other animal can do this. To use these devices, we must connect ourselves during development.”

How Brain Mapping helps Doctors?


Brain mapping can help doctors. Brain mapping is used by neurosurgeons to assure patient safety. For example, one treatment for epilepsy involves brain removal. Using functional MRI and electroencephalography, surgeons can determine a patient’s seizure center as well as active speech and movement areas. These visuals show doctors what to preserve and what to discard.

Brain imaging isn’t just for the diagnosis. It is used to diagnose neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s [source: Wilson]. Doctors may use PET or MRI to tag brain chemicals or to search for shrinkage in areas of tissue loss. Researchers can track changes in the brain as diseases progress or treatments work [source: Institute for Neurodegenerative Disorders].

Autisme and other developmental issues may have structural brain roots


Autisme and other developmental issues may have structural brain roots. Autism, according to Lichtman, is caused by faulty neuronal connections. Using Brainbow on an autistic mouse, researchers can track the wiring diagram’s evolution to see when and if it breaks.

Researchers have also tried to show how various mental illnesses affect the brain, with varying degrees of success. These patients’ MRIs revealed structural abnormalities. Schizophrenic individuals lose matter in their temporal and prefrontal brain, for example (Rapoport). These findings have yet to lead to therapy.

Brain imaging is utilized to study panic disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, but how do we interpret the results? Where can we see them? See more on the next page.

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