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What Makes us Human? A Step Closer to Finding Out
Research has found a whopping 97 new areas of the brain!
Most brain maps have provided an incomplete view of the brain, particularly as they utilise one single type of measurement. However, a new map using multiple MRI measurements including cortical thickness, brain function, the connectivity between these regions, topographic organization of cells in brain tissue and level of myelin have shown that there are in fact 97 new brain areas confirmed.
Glasser (2016) looked for specific changes in the cerebral cortex in two or more properties and then used these to create the borders on the map. This technique confirmed new brain areas and in actual fact, this method was tested by other scientists on 210 participant and they found the map to be accurate. However, these regions differ from person to person in terms of size. This difference in size could be the key to understanding individual uniqueness in functions such as cognitive ability and disease risk.
Looking to the future, far more intricate maps can now be developed. Rex Jung, a neuropsychologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, says that 'it is analogous to having a fantastic google earth map of your neighbourhood, down to your individual back yard. Yet, you cannot really see how your neighbours are moving around, where they are going or what sort of jobs they have’. This implies that we are likely to find more and more out, as research into these newly discovered areas of the brain improves.
This research suggests that the brains inner workings that have been based on a singular type of measurement may be misleading.
Further reading: A multi-modal parcellation of human cerebral cortex (nature.com)