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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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