Not very long ago, the feasibility of mapping the distinguishable regions of the human brain in relation to their functional roles seemed remote. With the tremendous advances in neuroscience in the past two decades, however, the opportunity now exists to approach the integrated understanding of brain structure and functioning necessary to clarify the neurobiological basis of human thought and emotion and to discern the mechanisms that underlie sensory perception and locomotor functions. Many of the intricate anatomical connections of the brain are being defined in great detail. New capabilities have emerged to identify and describe the biochemical, molecular, and genetic mechanisms that determine brain structure and functions. The activity of the human brain during mental activity can be measured and visualized. It is even becoming possible to monitor simultaneously the activity of many neurons within complex neural networks during discrete behaviors. The challenge now is to establish a comprehensive initiative that will increase the ability of neuroscientists to make discoveries about the brain and to apply this knowledge to the many mental and neurological disorders that affect humankind.

The progress made in this area has occurred primarily through the concerted efforts of increasing numbers of individual investigators, working mostly in small groups on highly specific projects. The body of information gained through such efforts has grown in a piecemeal fashion; it has now reached a point of limitation, in terms of its usefulness, because the mass of information is so great and its dissemination so poorly coordinated that critical data are often difficult to recover and define. Indeed, this approach to neuroscience research, which was so successful in the past, may soon limit advances in the same way that a single surveyor who charts a field cannot hope to map a continent without a coordinated plan involving other mappers. A Brain Mapping Initiative could identify those aspects of information exchange infrastructure that are critical to addressing a broader goal, one that will include the advantages of single-investigator projects and yet also yield the benefits of a larger, coordinated program. The Brain Mapping Initiative is intended to subsume all the proposed aspects of a National Neural Circuitry Database outlined in the charge to this committee. It is also designed to express explicitly the goals of the proposed effort and reflect more adequately the complex of electronic and digital resources that will be required.

A consensus is emerging that the initial steps can now be taken toward the global task of understanding brain structure and functioning. The impact of digital computer technology began in the physical sciences three or four decades ago and led to such current large-scale efforts as the supercollider, space telescope, and interplanetary probes. In neuroscience, the increasing availability of new enabling technologies is likely to have similar, far-reaching impacts. The development of high-density memory chips and the latest generation of microprocessors provides a key stimulus to accelerated development of image analysis graphics and image manipulation—a set of capabilities known as visualization computing (McCormick et al., 1987). The emergence of parallel processing, scientific visualization workstations, and high-capacity digital communications may provide the technical support needed to conduct coordinated projects in neuroscience.

A comprehensive, coordinated effort to understand basic organizational patterns of brain connections needs to be undertaken. This effort should include a definition of the chemical identity of neuronal populations and a description of neuronal structure and neuronal circuit organization in each region in sufficient detail to clarify the computational processes involved. The pace of future advances in neuroscience will depend on critical choices, which need to be made now, regarding the handling of information to be gathered in the future. At issue is whether neuroscientists will embark on a large-scale effort to develop and integrate new forms of technology for acquiring and managing information.


About Aberie Ikinko

My past research ranges from biophysical testing of placentas to manipulating protein binding domains to cell culture studies of stroke but my true research interest is in the study of pain. Also I am interested in more translational or potentially applicable science to the field of medicine. Currently the lab I am working in uses electrophysiology and real time PCR to quantify and characterize the differences in rat models of neuropathy and pain at the single neuron level in the dorsal root ganglion. blogs
This entry was posted in General Neuroscience, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Frontiers

  1. Pingback: Healthy Living is the premier regional online health magazine in New England. Do you ever ask why? Fresh ideas. | Ismael's Information-on

  2. Pingback: By introducing Healthy Living to your company, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Hoping to discover more? The best methods. | Savannah's MarketingSEOTips

  3. Pingback: Introducing the new way to meet your healthy living goals. It’s not a mystery. Interested? | Mildred's Information-on

  4. Pingback: Healthy Living means so much more than just eating right and exercising several times per week. Don’t you need more? Fresh ideas. | Ellie's Information-on

  5. Pingback: People Finder Uk Free » The Healthy Living Grant will not support overhead expenses, staff salaries & consultants. Own your own. Did you wonder why?

  6. Pingback: Hdtv 2009 Ces » Our free healthy living newsletter delivers useful news, inspiring stories, and delicious recipes to your in-box every day. Own your own. Wishing for more?

  7. Pingback: Rochester Healthy Living RHL is a free publication designed to help readers attain a thriving lifestyle. Own your own. Are you intrigued? - Caoimhe's TRF801xt

  8. Pingback: Meijer Healthy Living is the place for you. Name your own deal. Fresh ideas. - Taryn's

  9. Pingback: Healthy living isn’t a campaign or even a condition. Click for more information. Curious yet? « Edisons Blog

  10. Pingback: Whether you’re looking for weight loss tips, delicious new meals or even an entire nutritious menu. The best methods. | Conner's Information-on

  11. Pingback: Learn six simple and easy to follow healthy living tips to improve women’s health and ward off a whole host of illnesses. Isn’t it time for more info? Want to know more? «

  12. Pingback: In 2010, Healthy Living Grants of up to ,000 will be announced in mid-September. Throw away old ideas. Interested? - Health Directory Public

  13. Pingback: By introducing Healthy Living to your company, it’s a win-win situation for everyone. It’s not a mystery. Interested? « Belindas Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s