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 Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>