Understanding the functional significance of the folds in the outermost layer of the brains of large mammals is one of the big open questions in neuroscience. A team led by MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School researchers recently developed a tool that could aid such studies by helping researchers “see” how those folds develop and decay in the cerebral cortex.
By applying computer graphics techniques to brain images collected using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, the team created a set of tools for tracking and measuring these folds over time. The resulting model of cortical development may serve as a biomarker for early diagnosis of neurological disorders such as autism.
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