As natural explorers, we like to make maps of the world we discover. Mapping the human brain is still proving to be a bit of a headache for neuroscientists today, but smaller mammals with similar anatomies may improve our understanding of this complex organ. This image is part of a high-resolution atlas of the mouse brain, which traces and colours the connections between neurons. Thanks to maps like these, scientists can study how different neurons are connected. They can also study how neurons respond to different conditions. For example, specialised microscopes help them see how some cells are activated when they encounter certain shapes, objects, or images, whilst others respond when they see movement. By mapping these types of activities across the brain, scientists can start to understand what each part of the brain is responsible for, shedding some light on how and why it functions the way it does.
Written by Gaëlle Coullon
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.