Researchers map, measure brain’s neural connections

June 1, 2011
Neural Map

Special features of the software include a linked view for users to view both the 3-D image (top) and 2-D closeups of the neural bundles (credit: Radu Jianu/Brown University)

Computer scientists at Brown University have created software to examine neural circuitry in the human brain.

The software produces 2-D neural maps that combine visual clarity with a Web-based digital map interface. allowing users to view 2-D maps together with 3-D images. The researchers said they hope to use the images to better understand myelinated axons, which have been linked to pathologies such as autism.

Medical investigators can use the 2-D neural maps to pinpoint spots where myelin (a fatty membrane that wraps around axons) may be compromised, which could affect the vitality of neural circuits.

Users can export the the 2-D brain representations as images and display them in Web browsers using Google Maps, bypassing the need to reformat large datasets.

Ref.: David H. Laidlaw, Çaǧatay Demiralp, Radu Jianu, Exploring Brain Connectivity with Two-Dimensional Neural Maps, IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, April 2011 pp. 531-532