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map of the brain?

P C Knox pck at castle.ed.ac.uk
Wed May 27 05:33:53 EST 1992


peb at autodesk.com (Paul Baclace { Scheming Xanalogical Molecules Animate Cyberspace }) writes:

>Is there a connectivity map of the human brain?  It would be nice
>to have a list of <area-name, ...connections..> for all parts of 
>the brain.  Such a map would not be too large since named areas
>would probably be self-contained to some extent.  Obviously every
>cell is not conected to every other cell...someone remarked to me
>that there are around 200 pathways from the optic nerve.

>To get more detail, each area-name could have more details such
>as <area-name, cell-type, num-inputs, num-output> or something
>like that.  


>Paul E. Baclace
>peb at autodesk.com

Please.....! "not too large"? Have a look at Fig. 29 in Squire's "Memory
and Brain" for cortical visual areas. And bear in mind the legend points
out that this shows "some of their connections". If only modest numbers
of cell are connected to modest numbers of cells, the absolute number is
still so vast that this is not a project in which one would wish to
engage. And what does it tell us?
	You could argue that the connectivity of cells involved in the
vestibulo-ocular reflex has been known for years. At its most basic it
consists of a chain of three types of neuron, which are found in well
defined pools. Yet in terms of understanding function, it may be that
this simple scheme is actually misleading as far as understanding the
vestibular control of eye movement is concerned.
	So even if we had the map you desire, how would it help? And
even if it were feasible to construct such a map (a project which would
no doubt carry resource implications) is it desirable in the first
place?

Paul Knox
 



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