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. Vsp Providers


    May 14, 2021 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Doctor Near Me

    After looking at a few of the articles on your site, I seriously appreciate your way of writing a blog. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site too and let me know your opinion.


    May 14, 2021 at 19:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. realtor agents near me


    May 14, 2021 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. property for sale post falls idaho

    When I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service? Thank you!


    May 14, 2021 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. trailer service near me

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! It's the little changes which will make the most important changes. Many thanks for sharing!


    May 14, 2021 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. homes for sale hauser id

    I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this blog. I'm hoping to see the same high-grade content from you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own site now 😉


    May 15, 2021 at 00:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. home for sale wallace id

    Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself personally spending a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 15, 2021 at 05:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. homes for sale rathdrum idaho


    May 15, 2021 at 06:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Maserati Bi Turbo For Sale

    May I just say what a relief to discover somebody that really knows what they are discussing on the internet. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people should look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more popular since you definitely possess the gift.


    May 15, 2021 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv parts close to me


    May 15, 2021 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. 2017 Maserati Convertible


    May 15, 2021 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Eye Doctors Of Arizona


    May 15, 2021 at 14:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. rv toilet repair


    May 15, 2021 at 15:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. realtor near me


    May 15, 2021 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Wrap Around Prescription Sunglasses


    May 15, 2021 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. rv roof leak detection


    May 15, 2021 at 20:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Digital Marketing Contractor


    May 15, 2021 at 21:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Video Marketing Pros

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


    May 16, 2021 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Aika Online Download


    May 16, 2021 at 06:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Aika50 Aika50


    May 16, 2021 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. aika online gameplay

    I blog frequently and I seriously appreciate your content. This article has really peaked my interest. I'm going to take a note of your website and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.


    May 16, 2021 at 10:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. rv repair san diego

    This is a topic that's near to my heart... Many thanks! Where are your contact details though?


    May 16, 2021 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Sprinter Climate Control Repair

    This site really has all of the information I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 16, 2021 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 2004 Maserati Spyder


    May 16, 2021 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Sprinter Calliper Repair

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. It will always be exciting to read content from other writers and use a little something from other web sites.


    May 16, 2021 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Mercedes Sprinter Van 2015 3500 Repair

    I used to be able to find good information from your content.


    May 16, 2021 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Babette Lysiak

    I don't know about you guys but I am obsessed with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/05/woman-has-interesting-dinner-then-starts-to-bite/


    May 16, 2021 at 19:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Van Wheelchair Lift Repair

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I found this in my hunt for something concerning this.


    May 16, 2021 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Van Dent Repair


    May 16, 2021 at 23:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. What Does A Maserati Cost


    May 17, 2021 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. 2004 Mercedes Sprinter Engine Block Repair


    May 17, 2021 at 02:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Maserati Ghibli Lease


    May 17, 2021 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Dodge Van Repair


    May 17, 2021 at 06:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Robert Ochotorena

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs


    May 17, 2021 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Www Maserati Com


    May 17, 2021 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. 2016 Maserati Granturismo Black


    May 17, 2021 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Mercedes Sprinter Diesel Service Near Me


    May 17, 2021 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. rv fiberglass repair panels

    Having read this I thought it was extremely informative. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 17, 2021 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Maserati Rental


    May 17, 2021 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. rv dashboard

    This is the right website for anybody who wishes to find out about this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic that's been written about for a long time. Great stuff, just great!


    May 17, 2021 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Maserati Merak Ss


    May 17, 2021 at 16:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Refrigerator Near Me


    May 17, 2021 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Ian Olaughlin

    I don't know about you all but I infatuated with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2009/02/the-airline-blogs-livery-of-the-day-good-ol-usair/


    May 18, 2021 at 04:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. camper body repair


    May 18, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. güvenilir casino siteleri

    519990 723313As I website possessor I think the articles here is extremely wonderful, regards for your efforts. 143531

    May 18, 2021 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. central air conditioning installation near me

    Aw, this was a really good post. Finding the time and actual effort to create a very good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.


    May 18, 2021 at 18:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. heating and air conditioning school near me


    May 18, 2021 at 18:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Local Commercial Roof Restoration

    It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people on this topic, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 19, 2021 at 01:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Roofing And Siding Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 02:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Best Pediatric Optometrist Near Me

    You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the finest blogs online. I most certainly will highly recommend this web site!


    May 19, 2021 at 04:02 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Leave a Reply to Camper Repair 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.