Brain imaging: From functional mapping to mind reading
The human brain is a very complex system consisting of about 90 billion neurons and roughly 150 trillion connections. Because of this immense complexity, our understanding of the brain is very limited. Consequently, causes of neurological and psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, autism, schizophrenia, and depression, among others, which affect individuals, families, and societies, remain largely unknown. However, in the last two decades, the brain has gained significant research attention as evidenced by several big brain projects or initiatives undertaken by governments across the world. Using non-invasive brain imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), these big brain projects have led to an explosion of neuroimaging data. Many of these data are freely accessible by researchers interested in doing brain research. In this presentation, I will give an overview on how these brain imaging data can be used to localize brain functions, identify the brain's functional and structural connections, and potentially "read" the mind.