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Unfolded brain, MRI

  • Katja Heuer and Roberto Toro
  • Digital Images
  • Online

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The image shows a reconstruction of the physical connections between the different regions in an adult human brain. Via these connections, brain activity can travel from one part of the brain to another. The data for this image was obtained using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging - a non-invasive neuroimaging method that allows us to build detailed representations of brain connections in vivo. The geometry of these connections in the adult brain is of a daunting complexity. At the time of their formation, however, the brain is smaller and its shape simpler. To produce this image the brain was deformed in an attempt to recover this original simplicity. Using similar tools as those of ancient cartographers, multiple points of view were combined into a single image showing the global structure of the brain's connections. The image shows a mercator transformation (where a sphere with parallels and meridians becomes a rectangle) of the 3D space embedding a dense human brain tractography. The tractography was computed from high-angular resolution diffusion weighted imaging data. The unfolding was performed from a ventral point of view and shows the arrival of white matter fibres to the neocortex. The cerebellum is at the top of the image at the midline, immediately to the sides are the left and right temporal lobes, and the interhemispheric margin appears at the left and right borders of the image.

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