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Canada Medicine Science

Whole Human Brain Mapped In 3D 99

ananyo writes "An international group of neuroscientists has sliced, imaged and analysed the brain of a 65-year-old woman to create the most detailed map yet of a human brain in its entirety. The atlas, called 'BigBrain,' shows the organization of neurons with microscopic precision, which could help to clarify or even redefine the structure of brain regions obtained from decades-old anatomical studies (abstract). The atlas was compiled from 7,400 brain slices, each thinner than a human hair. Imaging the sections by microscope took a combined 1,000 hours and generated 10 terabytes of data. Supercomputers in Canada and Germany churned away for years reconstructing a three-dimensional volume from the images, and correcting for tears and wrinkles in individual sheets of tissue."
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Whole Human Brain Mapped In 3D

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @11:10AM (#44070407)

    The dna is just the code. The brain represents the running state of that code following 65 years worth of exogenous and endogenous inputs.

  • by GeekWithAKnife ( 2717871 ) on Friday June 21, 2013 @11:19AM (#44070489)

    I always worry when such notions arise. After all, everyone has a slightly different brain. some people have entire regions and functions mapped to areas we thought were science fiction just a decade or two ago. (typically the result of serious childhood brain trauma)
    For all we know her brain might differ from the norm, or her regional background might produce a similar anomaly. We'll need many thousands more of such scans.

    While this is and should be a celebrated achievement we must keep in mind that microscopically accurate scans will most likely be required on a per individual basis.
    Perhaps in the future we'll all carry our own 10PB brain map in our sub-dermal biochips.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @11:23AM (#44070531)

    No? DNA is instructions; if you run a 700 mb program for 65 years, subject to an entire world of input, it will probably generate a lot more than 10 tb of data. The data, in the case of the brain, is the way the neurons connect to each other. Were that complexity limited by DNA we wouldn't be able to remember anything that wasn't already hardcoded into our DNA; we would be non-learning beasts of pure instinct.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 21, 2013 @11:24AM (#44070535)

    Fractals are very complex structures produced by very simple equations. The data needed to store a fractal image is much greater than the data needed to store the equation that can generate it.

    Same deal here between DNA and the structures that get built from it.

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