Everything you know – from the features of a loved one's face to fascinating facts – is encoded somewhere in the complex connections between your brain cells. But we have very little idea exactly how it works. Thanks to advances in imaging and computing, researchers are now starting to map out this tangled biological wiring, known as the connectome. This image is a three-dimensional representation of the nerve cell connections in a human brain, assembled from a special type of scan that traces the movement of water along the long tails of nerve cells as they weave together. The amount of data needed to make these kinds of images is huge, taking around ten hours for a computer to assemble a 3D image. But as these mind maps become faster to make and more data becomes available, scientists can finally begin to unravel the mystery of how we make memories.
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.