Human Brain Organized Like a 3D ‘New York City’ Grid
The human brain has been described as “the most complex object in the known universe”, comprising tens of billions of connecting nerve fibres seemingly tangled like a huge bowl of spaghetti. But if a team led by Van Wedeen of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston is correct, this staggering complexity arises from a seductively simple underlying structure, revealed using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). If you straighten out its folds, Wedeen argues, the brain consists of a three-dimensional grid of fibres.
It is a big idea that could help unravel mysteries of brain development and evolution, and help link neurological and psychiatric disorders to abnormalities in brain structure.