The brain is not as tangled as it appears

It was previously thought the inside of the brain resembled the assembly of a bowl of spaghetti noodles. Researchers have now discovered that a more uniformed grid-like pattern makes up the connections of the brain.

The researchers used a recently-developed method called diffusion spectrum imaging to infer the position of nerve fibers in the living human brain from the way water flows through and around them. These scans revealed an orderly weave of fibers — a much simpler organization than many scientists would have suspected.

Scans in four monkey species found a similar pattern. The researchers suggest that this grid-like organization may be advantageous during brain development, providing the equivalent of highway lane markers to help growing nerve fibers find their way to the appropriate destination. Learn more here, here or here.

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