Brain maps for the brain that don’t exist
Researchers in the United States and Germany have created a 3D brain map of the brain’s cortex that doesn’t exist.
The researchers hope it could be used to create virtual reality or augmented reality environments, as well as help people with epilepsy and autism.
“There’s not much information on the human brain,” Dr. Sebastian Nieber of the University of Zurich in Switzerland told Wired.
“It’s not really available to us in terms of research.”
To create the map, the researchers scanned a slice of the cortex and compared it with another slice of tissue from the same brain, using MRI technology.
They then took the scans of the two slices and compared them with one another.
Using this information, they created three dimensions of the cortical surface.
“We were able to get this information that there are three dimensions in the cortex,” said Dr. Niebber.
“So we can create these three dimensions and map the cortex to those dimensions.”
Dr. Nierber said the researchers also scanned the cortex in a virtual reality setting, and saw that it had a “similar” pattern to the cortex that he and his colleagues had seen in the lab.
“When we see these maps in the real world, we see the same patterns in the brain,” he said.
“But in this study, we used this information in a way that we could get a very accurate mapping of the same cortex.”
To map the shape of the human cortex, the team also created a computer simulation.
The result is a 3-D map that shows the surface of the skull and the cortex.
To compare it with the real brain, the scientists took two slices from the cortex, and compared their positions.
“The skull has more thickness, so the cortex is closer to the skull,” Dr Nierbber said.
The team hopes that their findings will be useful for mapping the brain of other animals, and could help researchers create “more accurate” 3D models of the structure of the mammalian brain.