The Human Connectome

Just after my sister's initial diagnosis, I flipped through the July 2011 issue of the National Geographic magazine. I was stunned by a beautiful image of the brain. Only, it wasn't the brain itself being shown. The image showed the connections within the brain.

This link led me to The Human Connectome Project at Harvard. The project is currently mapping the connections within the normal, healthy brain in order to understand all those connections.

Once scientists have grappled with the connections within the healthy brain, I deeply hope they look towards the connections within brains that are not healthy. For example, what would the connectome of an Alzheimer's patient look like? I expect connections would be missing. What about a patient who has relearned skills lost due to a stroke? What would their connectome look like? Would there be connections in unanticipated places? We speak loosely about the brain rewiring itself. Maybe this imaging method could actually show that to be true.

Additional Information Sources:
Sebastian Seung's Ted Talk - I am my connectome
Connectome -


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