Like explorers mapping a new planet, scientists probing the brain need every type of landmark they can get. Each mountain, river or forest helps scientists find their way through the intricacies of the human brain.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed a new technique that provides rapid access to brain landmarks formerly only available at autopsy. Better brain maps will result, speeding efforts to understand how the healthy brain works and potentially aiding in future diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders, the researchers report in The Journal of Neuroscience Aug. 10
Scientists have found a way to use MRI scanning data to map myelin, a white sheath that covers some brain cell branches. Such maps, previously only available via dissection, help scientists detemine precisely where they are at in the brain. Red and yellow indicate regions with high myelin levels; blue, purple and black areas have low myelin levels.