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New Views of the Brain [Slide Show]

Scientists are charting the paths of individual neurons as well as the activity of individual genes

By W. Wayt Gibbs

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3-D model of the human brain:

Assembled from magnetic resonance imaging data, this rendering shows the major structures of the organ: the frontal lobe (yellow), temporal lobe (pink), parietal lobe (red) and cerebellum (blue).....[ More ]

Comparison:

By using the Brain Explorer program with the Human Brain Atlas database, researchers can compare where a particular gene is used in two or more brains. Here, colored patches highlight regions in two human brains where protein was being made from the gene MET , which is suspected of playing a role in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.....[ More ]

Cross-section:

A mouse brain was cut through the center, top to bottom and stained to highlight the cell bodies of neurons (red) as well as their long axons (green), which neurons use to transmit signals to one another.....[ More ]

Wiring:

Individual axons (hairlike wisps) can be seen fluorescing in this photomicrograph of a small piece of mouse brain. These axons connect neurons in the cortex that handle bodily movement to those in the thalamus that integrate sensory information.....[ More ]

One region:

​Both the axons and the main cell bodies of neurons glow green in this photomicrograph of the mouse brain’s substantia nigra, which is involved in addictive behavior. As in the previous image the cell outlines are revealed by infecting them with a chemically tagged virus.....[ More ]

Trunk lines:

Nerve fibers in the human brain are arranged into bundles that can be tracked using a technique known as diffusion tensor imaging , which follows the path of water as it moves through brain tissue. Images such as this are helpful in mapping the brain's neurocircuitry, which is mind-bogglingly complex because a typical neuron makes some 7,000 connections with other neurons.....[ More ]

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