Echoing the aims of the Human Genome Project the authors argue that a detailed ‘connectome’ is needed to fully understand how different areas of the human brain interconnect.
There is already a good understanding about how some areas of the brain connect, but it is currently not available in a single database, and there are crucial pathways that are not described in sufficient detail.
Having accurate information about the physical layout of the brain would allow a better understanding of the significance of brain activity from neuroimaging studies, and the effects of brain damage on areas not directly affected by the injury.
The paper in PLoS Computational Biology is part of a growing trend to integrate measures of activity (typically attributed to averaged or relatively rough locations in the brain) with detailed anatomical maps.
A recent toolkit released for SPM – a popular brain scan analysis package – allows researchers to judge the probability of activity arising from different areas in the brain, each is which is distinguished by differences in the microscopic structure of the neural tissue.
Link to article ‘The Human Connectome: A Structural Description of the Human Brain’.