The human brain, the most complex region of the body, could be more complex than researchers previously imagined. New research, hailed as a milestone in neuroscience, has mapped the human brain and identified 100 previously unknown regions. The mapping of key human brain functions comes as computer technology is working to integrate inside a human brain.

Human Brain
Image source: Wikimedia Commons

100 new brain regions mean how a brain is wired to work is being

The new brain mapping discoveries show how different parts of the brain activate depending on the type thought process being used.  When someone speaks it fires different neurons in different areas than when the wind blows through hair and delivers a sensation. Mapping these regions has specific benefits. Among them, the discovery should help scientists determine how different parts of the brain integrate with one another to form analysis, make decisions and create actionable thoughts.

“This map you should think of as version 1.0,” said Matthew F. Glasser, a neuroscientist at Washington University School of Medicine and lead author of the new research told the New York Times. “There may be a version 2.0 as the data get better and more eyes look at the data. We hope the map can evolve as the science progresses.”

While understanding how the brain works is interesting, other academics see a practical use in expanding the natural brain capacity.

“The next big step is seeing what this can do for us in terms of buying more power,” Emily S. Finn, a graduate student at Yale University who has used Human Connectome Project data, was quoted as saying. She along with seven other academics, wrote a report that mapped brain patterns to provide a “fingerprint” of how cognitive behavior works.

The mapping of human brain functions aids in the development of a brain-computer interface (BCI) movement that seeks to wire a brain to external devices. Certain brain-computer interfaces have been known to work wirelessly, an MIT report confirmed.

Human Connectome Project used advanced scanning technology to map new brain regions

Research on BCI and related mind-machine interface (MMI) and brain-machine interface (BMI) technology are in large part dependent on the mapping of the brains function, the subject of Dr. Glasser’s work.

In 2013 researchers culled data collected by the Human Connectome Project to idenitify a new understanding of how the brain work.

They studied 1,200 volunteers with powerful new scanning technology that was able to map brain functionality to a never before witnessed level.

Researchers recorded high-resolution brain images during tests of various thought processes, including memory, language and deductive ability.

Advances will not come easy. “We shouldn’t expect miracles and easy answers,” Dr. Van Essen, who studies disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, told the New York Times, “but we’re positioned to accelerate progress.”