Saturday, July 29, 2006

Visualization of Whole-Brain Connectivity

Growing up in the internet age, most of us are very familiar with network diagrams of all sorts. Indeed, this is also the age of the network. But surprisingly, while there are diagrams for almost every type of network you can conceive of, there is a remarkable lack of such diagrams for whole-brain connectivity. Why is that? The closest anyone has come has been limited to cortical connectivity diagrams (Felleman and van Essen (1991), Malcolm Young, Kotter et al, etc), and in those cases, the connectivity data was either outdated, incomplete, or both.

I have recently noticed whole-brain connectivity diagrams at, and although it still appears to be a work in progress, the results thus far seem fairly impressive. It remains to be seen whether the graphing methods they are employing will scale to deal with hundreds of nodes with thousands of edges.

UPDATE!!! Interactive visualization of brain connectivity in 3D! According to the Download Page:
Welcome to nodes3D, a 3D graph visualization program written by Issac Trotts in consultation with Shawn Mikula, in the labs of Edward G. Jones. On startup, nodes3d will download a graph of gross neuroanatomical connectivity from the MySQL database at Also supports loading of graphs from files or other databases.

Very Cool!


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