Connectomics uses advanced brain imaging techniques to identify and map the intricate web of white matter (communication lines) that link gray matter (neural brain volume). Mapping such networks occurs at the level of synaptic connections. This research began in the 70’s but has recently gained interest thanks to technical and computational advances that automate the collection of electron-microscopy data and offer the possibility of mapping even large mammalian brains. “Connectome” was coined in analogy with the “genome”—the entirety of an organism’s hereditary information—studied by biologists. To imagine how the story of the connectome will unfold over the next few decades, it’s helpful to recall the history of the genome. Connectomics is more challenging than genomics; the structure of the brain is extraordinarily complex. With an electron microscope, the branches of neurons can be seen clearly, even when they are tightly packed together in the brain.
People with high creative capacity have more connections between their left and their right hemispheres of their cerebral cortex.
- Highly Creative People Have Well-Connected Brain Hemispheres, full article and image available here
- The big data challenges of connectomics, available here
- Connectomics: Tracing the Wires of the Brains, available here