3-D model shows brain in finer detail
Researchers cut thin slices of a brain using a tool called a microtome.
June 20th, 2013
02:00 PM ET

3-D model shows brain in finer detail

A group of international researchers announced Thursday that they have created a three-dimensional model of the human brain in unprecedented resolution. It's called BigBrain.

"BigBrain is the first ever brain model in 3-D, which really presents a realistic human brain with all the cells and all the structures of a human brain," said Karl Zilles, senior professor of the Julich Aachen Research Alliance, in a press briefing. The research is being published in the journal Science.

This model is akin to a scaffold into which information about the living brain can be inserted. It's a reference to provide framework for research in many directions, such as how the brain is organized.

Having this model allows researchers to study the brain in finer detail than ever before. Previously, atlases of the human brain have had a resolution of about 1 millimeter, based on magnetic resonance imaging. This one, however, goes 50 times deeper, with a resolution of .02 millimeters in all directions. This is thinner than a human hair, said lead study author Katrin Amunts, director of the Cecile and Oskar Vogt Institute for Brain Research at the Heinrich Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany.

BigBrain will be made freely available to the public.

Researchers who study neuroscience can use BigBrain to simulate how a brain develops normally or how it degenerates in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, said Alan Evans of the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University and senior author on the paper. It makes it possible to model how the brain would perform without certain key connections or structures, investigating the process of age-related impairment.

"We can understand more about how the brain works if we can model it inside a powerful computing system," Evans said.

An Alzheimer's researcher could also use BigBrain to look into the details of the hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped structure in the brain crucial for memory, Zilles said.

Creating such a model of the human brain is substantially more difficult than creating a similar model for a mouse. The human cerebral cortex volume is about 7,500 times larger than that of a mouse cortex. The human brain has 53,000 times more white matter than that of a mouse.

The researchers assembled this model based on the brain of a single person: A 65-year-old woman. They cut her brain into more than 7,000 sections at a thickness of .02 millimeters, and stained each of these pieces to detect cell bodies. Then each section was digitized.

The BigBrain will eventually be able to integrate molecular data into the model, something the researchers are presently working on.

"Only if we understand the level of molecular distribution patterns and expression patterns in the brain, and connect it with the detailed anatomy, then we can really understand the relationship between structure and function in the human brain," Zilles said.

The size of the data is mind boggling: It's on the order of a terabyte, which is about 100,000 times larger than a typical MRI, Evans said.

The researchers have also been in touch with the Allen Institute for Brain Science, which has its own brain atlas data portal, about integrating the Allen data with BigBrain.

It's important for the field of neuroscience to have one brain model that serves as the common basis for scientific discussions, Zilles said.

Ultimately, researchers would like to have a model with a resolution of one micrometer, such that details at the single-cell level would be revealed.

The research is part of the Human Brain Project, a 1-billion euro European program to recreate the human brain inside a supercomputer.

More on the brain: Top brain scientist is 'philosopher at heart'

soundoff (673 Responses)
  1. Eye Appointments Near Me


    May 5, 2021 at 05:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ford transit

    I blog quite often and I truly thank you for your information. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I will bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your Feed as well.


    May 5, 2021 at 11:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. lifestyle group

    Right here is the right web site for anyone who wishes to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that's been discussed for a long time. Wonderful stuff, just great!


    May 5, 2021 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. verizon store near me

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Thank you!


    May 5, 2021 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. truck paint shop

    You are so awesome! I don't think I've truly read through anything like this before. So great to discover someone with a few unique thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!


    May 5, 2021 at 22:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. dating membership

    I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!


    May 6, 2021 at 05:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Cheapest Contact Lenses

    Very good article! We will be linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the great writing.


    May 6, 2021 at 07:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. freightliner truck repair shop

    Very good article. I certainly appreciate this site. Keep it up!


    May 6, 2021 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. nail salons near me

    Saved as a favorite, I love your blog!


    May 6, 2021 at 13:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Dent Repair California


    May 6, 2021 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. pho near me

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, but I genuinely thought you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could possibly fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    May 6, 2021 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. solar paint and body


    May 6, 2021 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Forklift Service Shop California


    May 6, 2021 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Blue Moon Mini Kegs


    May 6, 2021 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Used Forklift Repair Shop California

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the most useful blogs online. I will highly recommend this web site!


    May 7, 2021 at 01:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. New Forklift Extensions California


    May 7, 2021 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. whataburger near me

    A fascinating discussion is worth comment. I do believe that you should publish more about this subject matter, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people do not talk about such subjects. To the next! Kind regards!!


    May 7, 2021 at 04:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Forklift Repair Near Me

    I was able to find good advice from your content.


    May 7, 2021 at 05:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Beer Companies Near Me

    Your style is really unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.


    May 7, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Forklift For Sale Los Angeles

    Good article. I certainly appreciate this site. Keep writing!


    May 7, 2021 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. pizza delivery near me

    Good site you have here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    May 7, 2021 at 15:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. ดูบอลสด

    837027 49875Spot on with this write-up, I actually suppose this internet internet site needs rather a lot more consideration. most likely be once much more to learn a lot far more, thanks for that info. 938420

    May 7, 2021 at 19:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Seo Marketing Business

    I really like it when individuals come together and share views. Great blog, stick with it!


    May 7, 2021 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Local Marketing Company

    It’s nearly impossible to find experienced people in this particular topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 8, 2021 at 02:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Content Marketing Market


    May 8, 2021 at 04:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Google Marketing Jobs


    May 8, 2021 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Social Media Marketing Consultant Irvine

    I need to to thank you for this fantastic read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it. I've got you book marked to check out new stuff you post…


    May 8, 2021 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Video Marketing Job


    May 8, 2021 at 10:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Content Marketing Market

    May I simply say what a comfort to uncover somebody that actually knows what they're talking about online. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people really need to look at this and understand this side of the story. I can't believe you are not more popular given that you definitely possess the gift.


    May 8, 2021 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. esurance repair shops

    Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a top notch article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and never seem to get anything done.


    May 8, 2021 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Video Marketing Near Me

    Spot on with this write-up, I honestly think this website needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the advice!


    May 8, 2021 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Social Media Marketing Teacher


    May 8, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Content Marketing Quotes


    May 8, 2021 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Digital Marketing Center


    May 9, 2021 at 03:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Internet Marketing Services California

    You're so interesting! I don't think I've truly read through anything like this before. So wonderful to discover someone with genuine thoughts on this issue. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is one thing that's needed on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!


    May 9, 2021 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Video Marketing Store

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this web site before but after browsing through a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m certainly happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!


    May 9, 2021 at 11:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Digital Marketing Event


    May 9, 2021 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Video Marketing Agencies


    May 9, 2021 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Social Media Marketing Service


    May 9, 2021 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Seo Marketing Job


    May 9, 2021 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Couches Riverside


    May 9, 2021 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Seo Marketing Specialist

    I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I came across this in my search for something regarding this.


    May 10, 2021 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Social Media Marketing Company Irvine


    May 10, 2021 at 19:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Local Marketing Experts


    May 10, 2021 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Google Marketing Specialists


    May 10, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Social Media Marketing La Habra


    May 10, 2021 at 22:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Internet Marketing Company

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little homework on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner simply because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this subject here on your site.


    May 10, 2021 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Internet Marketing Company California


    May 11, 2021 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Content Marketing Club

    You are so cool! I do not think I have read anything like this before. So good to discover someone with some unique thoughts on this subject matter. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with a bit of originality!


    May 11, 2021 at 05:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Digital Marketing Master

    Hello there, I think your website could possibly be having browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that, excellent site!


    May 11, 2021 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Leave a Reply to RV Repair Parts Near Me


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

June 2013
  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.