Chinese scientists aim for world’s most detailed 3D map of human brain

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NANJING, Dec 6, 2018 (BSS/Xinhua) – Why do some brains discover the laws
of universe, while others create soul-stirring music or paintings? How is
memory and consciousness generated?

We can observe billions of stars and detect ripples in space, but we still
barely understand our brains, which can fathom the universe.

Their sophisticated structure and the number of neurons are only
estimates.

Now Chinese scientists are planning to draw the clearest yet three-
dimensional map of the intricate neurons and blood vessels in the human
brain.

This ambitious project is like taking 3D photos of a huge forest of nearly
100 billion trees, seeing not only the whole forest, but also every twig and
leaf on each tree.

“Our current methods cannot see both the trees and the forest. We aim to
develop new methods to obtain a high-resolution map to see clearly how the
neural network is connected,” said Luo Qingming, leader of the research.

Luo, president of Hainan University and chief scientist of the Suzhou
Institute for Brainsmatics of the Huazhong University of Science and
Technology (HUST), in east China’s Jiangsu Province, said the research will
help in analyzing the mechanisms of brain diseases, and promote the
development of artificial intelligence.

“The continuous changes of neural networks and brain activities pose great
challenges to the analysis of brain functions. But we believe that brain
functions and activities depend on the basic cells, just as a circuit network
depends on its basic unit – the electronic components,” said Luo.

“Different types of neurons are the basis for the analysis of brain
functions and for the diagnosis and treatment of brain diseases,” he said.

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