Lighting-up the Brain
As natural explorers, we like to make maps of the world we discover. Mapping the human brain is still proving to be a bit of a headache for neuroscientists today, but smaller mammals with similar anatomies may improve our understanding of this complex organ. This image is part of a high-resolution atlas of the mouse brain, which traces and colours the connections between neurons. Thanks to maps like these, scientists can study how different neurons are connected. They can also study how neurons respond to different conditions. For example, specialised microscopes help them see how some cells are activated when they encounter certain shapes, objects, or images, whilst others respond when they see movement. By mapping these types of activities across the brain, scientists can start to understand what each part of the brain is responsible for, shedding some light on how and why it functions the way it does.
Written by Gaëlle Coullon
- Images from the Allen Developing Mouse Brain Atlas
- Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle, WA, USA
- ©2008 Allen Institute for Brain Science. Allen Developing Mouse Brain Atlas