The Challenges and Future for Mapping the Brain

One of the most recent advancements in neuroscience is the development of advanced imaging techniques that are critical in mapping the brain. For years, man has made tremendous strides in studying and exploring many of science’s previously unchartered frontiers, not the least of which is space, but mapping the brain has always been a challenge that was beyond the reach of available technology. Today, slowly but surely, that challenge is becoming an ever small image in the rearview mirror as medical science continues to push the boundaries of neuro-biology much like the latest iPhone 5 specs push the bar for mobile electronics.

The ultimate goal of mapping the brain rests in being able to catalogue where various human faculties reside in the many centers of the human thinking machine. Visualizing the brain has always been the easier task; mapping the spatial representations that governed various thinking process was altogether a different challenge. By understanding where things reside in the brain, medical science would be able to look at illnesses, diseases and normal processes in more detail. In a sense, it was like how a video game designer would layout a game to define the rules. Mapping the brain is man’s effort to understand those rules.

There are a number of main tools available to take on this challenge. These were made possible by early efforts in the same field which produced the following initial database of brain imaging:
Talairach Atlas, 1988
Harvard Whole Brain Atlas, 1995
MNI Template, 1998
These techniques relied on the development of sophisticated image acquisition technology which further relied on the advancement of advanced computing technology. Tasks like representation, visualization, interpretation and analysis required a technology what was ten times more advanced than what any web design company would offer and prior to 2005, 3D imaging was at best a promising but limited technology in computing terms.
The breakthroughs that paved the way for current brain mapping research was the product of ever evolving complexities in electronics and computing ultimately culminating in applications that were able to do 3-dimensional visualization of the human brain at a speed that was fast enough to capture neural networks as they are fired by certain activities. For sure, it was a task that was harder than exercising on a pullup bar but the emphasis on refining and fine-tuning the results each and every time eventually made current technology possible.
And now that mapping the brain has been successful on a general level, the next path in the career research for brain mapping experts is to explore four potential uses that can boost the relevance of neuroimaging as a diagnosis tool for brain-related illnesses:
Mapping a specific patient’s brain for certain neural and structural anomalies that can help in the diagnosis of diseases like epilepsy, schizophrenia, and other related illnesses.
Understanding how genes manifest as neural networks helping influence personality and traits much like web design Leeds would model a specific web site to deliver its unique personality.
Mapping the brain for physical changes brought about by environmental factors or aging processes in order to understand degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. In the future, it is not inconceivable to find neuroimaging databases for newly born or young individuals which can then be subsequently compared to older brain scans to see what has changed prior to and after the onset of a disease. This would be a more-than-laudable exercise worthy of inclusion into birth certificate translation databases.
A definitive correlation between structure and function for the human brain. This entails understanding how existing structures behave when a specific task is being done. Today, we are only scratching the surface of this medical field but with future developments, we should be able to progress from basic to more advanced understanding of the physical processes much like graduating from masters in health administration.
The future of mapping the brain is bright and promising but there remains to be a plethora of challenges to overcome. As more and more data becomes available, the greater need for better computing power will surface. To make the data usable, there has to be means to easily access it. It’s not like any other stromanbieter vergleich where one quick look at the data would already lead to useful conclusions. Rather, the immense expanse of the research and findings it will produce will only complicate the process if no new methods for data analysis are present.
Still, that’s something that we leave for the future even as we sow the seeds of hope today. Already, current developments in mapping the brain are worthy of printed custom t-shirts for its relevance and usefulness. We are already making awesome strides in a field which years ago was beyond our technological reach.
The trick is in understanding that it will never be a walk in the part, not a chautauqua homes for sale exercise which will immediately fetch results in a short period of time. The challenge requires powering through the obstacles just as neuroscience has done in the past and as long as we recognize its importance and commit to its development, we can stand to continue benefiting from the value of mapping the brain.