Friday, September 14, 2012

Mapping the Brain To Better Enhance and Treat the Mind

Neuroscience mapping brain connections (Los Angeles Times):

"The Human Connectome Project, a $40-million endeavor funded by the National Institutes of Health, aims to plot these connections — both their structure and their function. "It's basically a Manhattan Project to try to establish the wiring diagram," Koroshetz says…The quest began in the late 1990s, when Mayberg and her colleagues started scanning the brains of people with depression, treating them and scanning them again to look for changes in brain activity. The hope was to pinpoint the neural circuits involved in the disorder, and eventually they hit the bull's-eye: When antidepressants worked, the scans invariably showed a decrease in activity in a section of the prefrontal cortex called Brodmann area 25…"It's not entirely possible to predict exactly where this is all going," says lead author Sean Mackey, chief of Stanford University's Pain Management Division. Brain scanning is expensive. Perhaps researchers can figure out how to provide the same feedback using a less expensive EEG machine, Mackey says. Or perhaps patients could ultimately learn how to control pain without a machine."

–> To Learn More: To Be (Your Con­nec­tome), or Not to Be (Your Genome)

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