Where is my Mind? New Study Looks for the Cortical Conscious Network

Brain - American Health Council

Our brain is a very complex network, with approximately 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses between the neurons. In order to cope with its enormous complexity, and understand how the brain works and eventually forms our conscious mind, science uses advanced mathematical tools. Ultimately, scientists seek to understand how a global phenomenon such as consciousness can emerge from our neuronal network.

A team of physicists from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, led by Professor Shlomo Havlin and Professor Reuven Cohen, used network theory in order to cope with this complexity and to determine how the structure of the human cortical network can support complex data integration and conscious activity. The gray area of the human cortex, the neuron cell bodies, were scanned with MRI imaging and used to form 1,000 nodes in the cortical network. The white matter of the human cortex, the neuron bundles, were scanned with DTI imaging, forming 15,000 links or edges which connected the network’s nodes. At the end of this process, their network was an approximation of the structure of the human cortex. The research was recently published in New Journal of Physics.

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