A detailed map of how the brain is organized

A detailed map of how the brain is organized

A detailed new map by researchers at the School of Medicine lays out the landscape of the cerebral cortex – the outermost layer of the brain and the dominant structure involved in sensory perception and attention, as well as distinctly human functions such as language, tool use and abstract thinking.

Human Connectome Project releases major data set on brain connectivity

The Human Connectome Project, a five-year endeavor to link brain connectivity to human behavior, has just released a set of high-quality imaging and behavioral data to the scientific community. Shown is a map of the average “functional connectivity” in the human cerebral cortex, collected on healthy subjects while “at rest” in the MRI scanner.

Better brain imaging helps surgeons avoid damage to language functions

Jeff Ojemann/University of WashingtonImproved imaging of brain’s language areas may replace more invasive pre-surgery mapping techniques, such as the electrocortical stimulation method shown here.Advances in neurosurgery have opened the operating room door for an amazing array of highly invasive forms of brain surgery, but doctors and patients still face an incredibly important decision – whether to operate when life-saving surgery could irrevocably damage a patient’s ability to speak, read or even comprehend a simple conversation. Now, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis are developing a painless, non-invasive imaging technique that surgeons here are using to better evaluate brain surgery risks and to more precisely guide operations so that damage to sensitive language areas is avoided. The breakthrough could improve odds of success in an increasingly common surgery in which damaged sections of a patient’s temporal brain lobe are removed in an effort to alleviate epileptic seizures. November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month.