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White matter innervation of the neocortex, MRI

Katja Heuer and Roberto Toro

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Credit: White matter innervation of the neocortex, MRI. Credit: Katja Heuer and Roberto Toro. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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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 reveals the 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. This image was produced by 'deformation' of the brain in an attempt to recover this original simplicity. Multiple points of view have been combined into a single image showing the global structure of the brain's connections. The image uses a mapping technique called universal polar stereographic transformation such that a sphere with parallels and meridians would become a disc. The parallels become concentric circles and meridians become radii. The tractography was computed from high-angular resolution diffusion weighted imaging data. The unfolding was performed from a dorsal point of view and shows the arrival of white matter fibres to the neocortex: The cerebellum is located at the top of the image, the dorsal part of the brain is at the center, and the lateral aspects of the brain are to the left and right sides of the image.

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