Brain Mappers Create a Detailed Atlas of the Human Cortex

The maps could help future researchers probe the working brain

By Daniela Hernandez

By combining several types of brain-mapping techniques, researchers report they've been able to assemble a detailed map of how different parts of the cerebral cortex are hooked up. The work is described in a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. Matthew F. Glasser, David C. Van Essen

In many ways, the brain is still uncharted territory. But researchers may now have a more robust set of guideposts for studying it. Using a variety of brain-mapping techniques and data from 210 healthy young adults, researchers have devised a new detailed atlas of the human cortex, the part of the brain involved in attention, language and perception.

The set of maps, described in a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature, traces the cortex’s 180 sub-regions and whether they process hearing, vision, movement or touch. The scientists also trained a machine learning algorithm to recognize these different sub-areas. The algorithm is reportedly 97% accurate.

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