Neuroscience: Connectomes make the map

Allen Institute for Brain Science Connections to the thalamus, the brain’s relay station, mapped from 80 sites in the cortex. A newborn baby, well fed and sleepy, is swaddled in a blanket and lying on what looks like a tea tray with a helmet attached to one end. Once the infant falls asleep, researchers pull special tabs on the blanket to ease the baby into the helmet. It is a customized receiver coil used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a common method for visualizing brains in living people. The researchers slide the baby-holding contraption along a special trolley into the MRI tube and start collecting images. From about 1,000 such scans, and another 500 of developing fetuses, UK scientists in the Developing Human Connectome Project plan to map how regions…

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