Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
PZ HTL SA

Connectome Project Releases Brain Imaging Data for Brain Circuitry Research

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 19 Mar 2013
Image: A map of average “functional connectivity” in human cerebral cortex (including subcortical gray matter). Regions in yellow are functionally connected to a “seed” location in the parietal lobe of the right hemisphere, whereas regions in red and orange are weakly connected or not connected at all (Photo courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis).
Image: A map of average “functional connectivity” in human cerebral cortex (including subcortical gray matter). Regions in yellow are functionally connected to a “seed” location in the parietal lobe of the right hemisphere, whereas regions in red and orange are weakly connected or not connected at all (Photo courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis).
A five-year endeavor to tie brain connectivity to human behavior has generated a set of cutting-edge imaging and behavioral data to the scientific community. The project has two major goals: to collect huge amounts of data using sophisticated brain imaging modalities on a large population of healthy adults, and to make the data freely available so that scientists worldwide can make additional discoveries about brain circuitry.

The initial data release from the Human Connectome Project includes brain imaging scans in addition to behavioral information--individual differences in cognitive capabilities, personality, emotional characteristics, and perceptual function--collected from 68 healthy adult volunteers. Over the next several years, the number of subjects evaluated will increase steadily to a final target of 1,200. The initial release is an important milestone because the new data have much higher resolution in space and time than data obtained by traditional brain scans.

The Human Connectome Project (HCP) consortium is led by David C. Van Essen, PhD, a professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (MO, USA), and Kamil Ugurbil, PhD, director of the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research and a professor at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities, USA).

“By making this unique data set available now, and continuing with regular data releases every quarter, the Human Connectome Project is enabling the scientific community to immediately begin exploring relationships between brain circuits and individual behavior,” said Dr. Van Essen. “The HCP will have a major impact on our understanding of the healthy adult human brain, and it will set the stage for future projects that examine changes in brain circuits underlying the wide variety of brain disorders afflicting humankind.”

The consortium includes more than 100 investigators and technical staff at 10 institutions in the United States and Europe. It is funded by 16 components of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, MD, USA) via the Blueprint for Neuroscience Research. “The high quality of the data being made available in this release reflects an intensive, multiyear effort to improve the data acquisition and analysis methods by this dedicated international team of investigators,” stated Dr. Ugurbil.

The data set includes information about brain connectivity in each individual, using two distinct magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) approaches. One, called resting-state functional connectivity, is based on spontaneous fluctuations in functional MRI (fMRI) signals that occur in a complex pattern in space and time throughout the gray matter of the brain. Another, called diffusion imaging, provides information about the long-distance “wiring,” the anatomic pathways navigating the brain’s white matter. Each technique has its own limitations, and assessments of both functional connectivity and structural connectivity in each subject should allow deeper insight than by either technique alone.

Each participant is also scanned while performing a variety of tasks within the scanner, thereby providing extensive data about Task-fMRI brain activation patterns. Behavioral data using a range of tests performed outside the scanner are being released along with the scan data for each subject. The study participants are drawn from families that include siblings, some of whom are twins. This will enable studies of the heritability of brain circuits.

The imaging data set released by the HCP takes up approximately two terabytes of computer memory and is stored in a customized database called “ConnectomeDB.”

“ConnectomeDB is the next-generation neuroinformatics software for data sharing and data mining. It's a convenient and user-friendly way for scientists to explore the available HCP data and to download data of interest for their research,” concluded Daniel S. Marcus, PhD, assistant professor of radiology and director of the Neuroinformatics Research Group at Washington University School of Medicine. “The Human Connectome Project represents a major advance in sharing brain imaging data in ways that will accelerate the pace of discovery about the human brain in health and disease.”

Related Links:
Human Connectome Project
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
University of Minnesota


comments powered by Disqus

Channels

Genomics/Proteomics

view channel

New Program Encourages Wide Distribution of Genomic Data

A new data sharing program allows genomics researchers and practitioners to analyze, visualize, and share raw sequence data for individual patients or across populations straight from a local browser. The sequencing revolution is providing the raw data required to identify the genetic variants underlying rare diseases... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: The nano-cocoon drug delivery system is biocompatible, specifically targets cancer cells, can carry a large drug load, and releases the drugs very quickly once inside the cancer cell. Ligands on the surface of the \"cocoon\" trick cancer cells into consuming it. Enzymes (the “worms\" in this image) inside the cocoon are unleashed once inside the cell, destroying the cocoon and releasing anticancer drugs into the cell (Photo courtesy of Dr. Zhen Gu, North Carolina State University).

Novel Anticancer Drug Delivery System Utilizes DNA-Based Nanocapsules

A novel DNA-based drug delivery system minimizes damage to normal tissues by utilizing the acidic microenvironment inside cancer cells to trigger the directed release of the anticancer drug doxorubicin (DOX).... Read more

Business

view channel

Interest in Commercial Applications for Proteomics Continues to Grow

Increasing interest in the field of proteomics has led to a series of agreements between private proteomic companies and academic institutions as well as deals between pharmaceutical companies and novel proteomics innovator biotech companies. Proteomics is the study of the structure and function of proteins.... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.