Healthy adult human brain viewed from above, tractography

  • Henrietta Howells, NatBrainLab
  • Digital Images
  • Online

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Healthy adult human brain viewed from above, tractography. Henrietta Howells, NatBrainLab. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

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Bird's eye (superior) view of connections in the brain of a healthy 29 year old female human. The front of the brain is facing the right side of the image and the back of the brain is on the left. Brain cells communicate with each other through these nerve fibres, which have been visualised using diffusion imaging tractography. Diffusion weighted imaging is a specialised type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan which measures water diffusion in many directions in order to reconstruct the orientation of bundles of axons. Tractography is used to indirectly model these bundles of axons (nerve fibres), which transmit information between cortical regions at the brain's surface. Since these images are in 3D, colours have been used to represent the direction of the neural tracts. For example, connections that run from the motor cortex and somatosensory cortex down to the corticospinal tract in the brain stem are visible in blue/purple. The brain measures approximately 18 cm from front to back.

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