Google has been involved in creating the most detailed human brain connection map to date. This map shows amazing details, including the connection patterns between neurons, and what may resemble new types of nerve cells.
The brain map is freely available online. It shows 50,000 cells in three dimensions, constituting 130 million synaptic connections. The data is 1.4 PB, which is about 700 times the average storage capacity of modern computers.
Viren Jain, an expert from Google, said: “This map is full of data, and experts are not yet able to investigate it in detail.”
Harvard University biologist Catherine Dulac said: “This is the first time we have seen the actual structure of such a large part of the human brain.”
The brain mapping project was initiated by Jeff Lichtman of Harvard University after receiving part of the brain of a 45-year-old woman with drug-resistant epilepsy for research. The patient’s left hippocampus was removed, which is the source of her seizures. The surgeon must also remove part of the healthy brain tissue covering the hippocampus.
Lichtman and his colleagues immediately saved brain samples and stained them with heavy metals such as osmium so that the outer membrane of each cell could be seen under an electron microscope. Then they cut a part of the brain into pieces about 30 nanometers thick, about one-thousandth the thickness of a human hair, and photographed each section with an electron microscope. New scientist.
After that, the whole thing was taken over by Google’s Jain and his colleagues, who assembled the two-dimensional parts into a three-dimensional volume. They use artificial intelligence to reconstruct the branches that connect one neuron to another, and to label different cell types.
In the process, scientists discovered mysterious pairs of neurons deep in the cortex.
“The two sites point in opposite directions on the same axis. No one knows why,” Lichtman said.
Jain and Lichtman’s group advocated in 2020 to map the entire mouse brain with a similar level of detail.
“The entire mouse brain is only 1,000 times larger than this. It is EB, not PB. I think this is something we can do in ten years,” Lichtman said.
The amount of data required to map the entire human brain is 1,000 times that. Lichtman stated that the database will be “comparable to the amount of digital content produced in a year on Earth.”
You can look at the most detailed picture of a certain part of the brain Here.