Mapping connections in the brain

By Grant Jacobs 12/03/2011

This short ’for the masses’ video from the scientific journal Nature gives a ‘lite’ introduction to work aimed at mapping small portions of the human brain from the visual cortex, summarising two papers recently published in the journal.

You can view this as a small-scale pilot program to look at the issues involved in a larger-scale mapping of neuronal connections in the brain, by examining first a well-studied system like the visual cortex.

As the narrator explains, one of the key things about this work isn’t just working out what is connected with what, but getting some idea of what the connected neurons do. The mapping work and the functional work complement each other to create a bigger picture than each on their own.

Unfortunately for those who’d like to read further both research papers are not open-access, so those without access to university library are a bit stuck there.

(On a personal note, as a computational biologist, I’d have to admit the thought of ’playing’ with some of the datasets that underlie the colourful representations shown in the video appeals!)

Update Credit where it’s due: this is the work of Charlotte Stoddart. I apologise for not including this earlier as a personal credit was not listed on the original; I’ve since seen her credited elsewhere.

Recent videos and lighter articles on Code for Life:

Weekend shorts (including Japan earthquake links)

Printing a human kidney

Sinclair ZX envy

Liquefaction in a barrow

Russell Doolittle on Life before Bioinformatics

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