Translational Science Center

Mapping the Human Connectome

Fostering Independence in Aging

Mapping the Human Connectome

Brain Network Photo

Human brain network from imaging data shows the functional connectivity of the resting human brain. Each node in the network represents a small piece of brain tissue. The brain areas are connected if they have highly synchronized brain activity. The more connections a node has, the larger it is shown in the network image. The colors reveal functional neighborhoods in the brain that are all highly interconnected to one another. [Dr. Paul Laurienti/Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center]

“Since 2009, the field of network science has become incredibly popular in brain imaging journals, and roughly one third the papers in the field are on this topic,” according to Dr. Laurienti. “However, many people aren’t applying network science from a complex systems perspective Traditional thinking focuses on certain regions of the brain and brain cells. Reductionist approaches model every synapse and cell, but they fail to take into account the dynamics of the system. It’s the interactions between parts that matter. A more dynamic approach is needed to study the entire system.”

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