Scientists can now 'fingerprint' each brain

22nd Nov 2016

A new discovery has shown that each brain is wired in a completely unique way.

Each of us has a distinct map of brain connections, known as a connectome. Using diffusion MRI, the researchers measured connections along the white matter pathways in the brains of around 700 people. They created a basic map of all major connections in the brain, then measured the stretch of the connections along the brain's underlying fiber pathways. The data was then reconstructed to create a 'fingerprint' for each brain.

The connections of the different brains were so distinct that they could be used to identify each person with 100% accuracy. The connectone reflected information about genetics, cognition, neurological health and life experiences. Each connectone changes over time, due to the change in life experiences; it would shift around 13% every 100 days. This is termed plasticity, where the brain recognises itself by developing new connections.

The technique could be used to study how hereditary and environmental factors shape the brain. In the future, they are hoping to use the connectome to compare connections in order to predict cognitive function or risk for psychiatric diseases. 

To read more about this study, please visit PLOS website


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