Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mapping a Brain Atlas

08.09.2010
TAU investigates brain connections to understand disorders of the mind

Uncovering the secrets of the brain requires an intense network of collaborative research. Building on a tool that was co-developed in his laboratory and described in a recent issue of Brain, Dr. Yaniv Assaf of Tel Aviv University's Department of Neurobiology is collaborating with an international team of scientists to understand how different parts of the human brain "connect" — and to turn this information into a "brain atlas."

Brain researchers already know that autism and schizophrenia are not localized disorders — there is no one place in the brain they can be found. That's why a brain atlas will be an invaluable resource for understanding how parts of our brain connect to other parts within, leading to a deeper understanding of these diseases.

"It's currently impossible for clinicians to 'see' subtle disorders in the brain that might cause a life-threatening, devastating disability," says Dr. Assaf, whose most recent research was done in collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Developmental disorders like autism are believed to be a function of abnormal connections among different regions within the brain — like wires between telephone poles. In his research, Dr. Assaf looks at clusters of brain wiring, or axons, to help scientists produce a better working map of the brain for future research.

... more about:
»Atlas »Brain »MRI »brain cell »human brain

Mapping biomarkers

Axons connect brain cells. About one micron (one millionth of a meter) in diameter, these tiny axons transfer information to each other and to different parts of the brain. To date there has been no non-invasive imaging technique that can let scientists "see" such features in the brain in a living person — partly because the axons are so small, and partly because of the delicate nature of the brain.

Dr. Assaf's tool can look at larger groups of multiple axons and collect information from the group itself, information which measures the velocity and flow of information within the brain. Using a standard MRI available in most major hospitals, Dr. Assaf's tool, called AxCaliber, provides a way to recognize groups of abnormal axon clusters. Systematically arranged into an atlas, these groups could serve as biomarkers for the early diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of brain disorders.

Putting his head into his research

"Currently, we can map the healthy human brain past the age of puberty. But once we will assemble this atlas, we could do this scan before puberty — and maybe even in utero — to determine who's at risk for disorders like schizophrenia, so that an early intervention therapy can be applied” says Dr. Assaf, who is working on the brain atlas with a pan-European consortium of brain scientists through a 12-laboratory network called CONNECT. The consortium, funded by the European Union, includes Dr. Assaf, his Tel Aviv University colleague Prof. Yoram Cohen, and partners in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy and Switzerland. Each of the teams in the consortium is offering its individual expertise to better understand connections in the brain and how they change over time. Their goal is to be better able to predict the onset, then more effectively treat, brain-related diseases.

And because Dr. Assaf is currently mapping the anatomy of a healthy brain's connections, he doesn't mind offering up his own head, which he inserts into a Tel Aviv University-owned MRI at a local hospital, for study.

George Hunka | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aftau.org

Further reports about: Atlas Brain MRI brain cell human brain

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>