Researchers map another 180 areas of the human brain

A research project funded by the National Institutes of Health has identified 180 new distinct areas of the human brain, specifically of the brain's outer mantle. According to the NIH, this number is more than double that of the previously mapped brain areas. In addition to identifying these new regions, the researchers behind it also created a new type of software able to find each of these areas' 'fingerprints' automatically, doing so using brain scans.

Of the 180 brain areas, 83 of them were previously identified but confirmed by this study, while the other 97 are newly identified and lie within each hemisphere's cortex areas. The researchers had an almost 97-percent detection rate, according to NIH.

The group was able to identify these new brain areas due to improvements in imaging technologies. Multiple MRI modalities were used to map things like topography, activity, connectivity, and cortical architecture in the brains of more than two hundred volunteers.

The results were then compared between volunteers to validate the mapped areas. This is in contrast to past techniques, which used only one measurement and made it difficult to determine whether a mapped area was distinct or not.

Speaking about this, the NIH's Bruce Cuthbert said:

These new insights and tools should help to explain how our cortex evolved and the roles of its specialized areas in health and disease, and could eventually hold promise for unprecedented precision in brain surgery and clinical work-ups.

SOURCE: National Institutes of Health