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Washington University Releases First Brain Mapping Results

St. Louis Public Radio
D. Barch, M. Harms, G. Burgess for the WU-Minn HCP consortium

An international brain mapping project led by Washington University has released its first set of results.

The Human Connectome Project is a five-year effort to study brain circuits and how the wiring of the brain relates to human behavior.

Study co-lead, Wash U neuroscientist David Van Essen, says the goal is to gain insight into how our brains work.

"What makes us think, and why are some of us better at mathematical tasks, and others more artistic, and all of the countless ways in which each healthy adult is a unique personality,” Essen said.

Essen says the project involves using high-resolution brain scans to build a database of information about the brains of healthy adults.

"We hope that in future years there will be separate projects to probe what's going wrong in the brains of individuals with schizophrenia, with autism, with Alzheimer's, and with countless other brain disorders,” Essen said.

Essen says data from 68 study participants is now ready for download, with more to be made available every three months. The project aims to map the brains of a total of 1200 people.

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