Trolling the Brain

Similar to the way Google crawls the Internet, scientists have mapped a three-dimensional circuit of connected cells in the cerebral cortex, allowing them to navigate the mind's jungle.

A three-dimensional map of the brain of a mouse is a first in neuroimaging. "For the first time, scientists have reconstructed a three-dimensional circuit of connected cells in the brain's seat of consciousness. Their new approach, which involves the use of high-tech microscopes and a supercomputer, offers the unprecedented opportunity to unravel the complex wiring of the brain by navigating through the tangled and dense jungle of cells—similar to the way Google crawls the Web. The research, published by two separate teams in the March 10 issue of the journal Nature, demonstrates the possibility of tackling questions about brain function that traditional methods can't address."

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