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A revolutionary new 3-D digital brain atlas
Date:6/21/2013

This news release is available in French.

Imagine being able to zoom into the brain to see various cells the way we zoom into Google maps of the world and can see houses on a street. And keep in mind that the brain is considered the most complex structure in the universe with 86 billion neurons. Zooming in is now possible thanks to a new brain atlas with unprecedented resolution. BigBrain is the first 3D microstructural model of the entire human brain, and is free and publicly available to researchers world-wide. The results of the BigBrain model, created at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital The Neuro, McGill University - in collaboration with researchers at Forschungszentrum Jlich, Germany, are published today in the June 20 issue of Science.

"The BigBrain atlas offers nearly cellular resolution, that is detail close to the level of the cell, a capability that has not been previously available in 3D for the human brain," says Dr. Alan Evans, researcher at The Neuro, co-founder of the International Consortium for Brain Mapping and co-creator of the atlas. "To put BigBrain in context we can consider present day MRIs which have a 3D spatial resolution of 1mm. In comparison, the BigBrain data set is 50 times smaller in each dimension providing unmatched spatial resolution. The BigBrain data set is 125,000 times (50 x50 x 50) bigger than a typical MRI, and has a volume of 1 terabyte, which is equal to 1000 GB." Researchers world-wide will be able to download brain sections from the BigBrain website bigbrain.loris.ca. Big Brain is reconstructed from 7404 histological brain sections which were stained for cell bodies, and then digitized, taking advantage of recent progress in computing capacities, brain images analysis, and the teams' experience in
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Contact: Anita Kar
anita.kar@mcgill.ca
514-398-3376
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

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