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The Allen Human Brain Reference Atlas is the most structurally complete map of the human brain to date. It combines neuroimaging with cellular level resolution histological analysis and expert structural mapping.
2 min read
The Allen Human Brain Reference Atlas is the most structurally complete map of the human brain to date. It combines neuroimaging with cellular level resolution histological analysis and expert structural mapping. The atlas was recently published in an unprecedented 350 page, stand-alone issue of the Journal of Comparative Neurology.
To create this modern atlas, the team at the Allen Institute partnered with Bruce Fischl, Ph.D. at Massachusetts General Hospital to perform magnetic resonance and diffusion tensor imaging on an intact brain before it was cut into slabs and serially sectioned to allow histological staining of individual sections. This imaging on the same brain created opportunities for linking fine molecular and cellular studies of the brain in health and disease with non-invasive neuroimaging studies. From start to finish, creation of the atlas took approxiately five years.
Allen Human Brain Reference Atlas | Fly-through
“To understand the human brain, we need to have a detailed description of its underlying structure,” says Ed Lein, Ph.D., Investigator at the Allen Institute for Brain Science. “Human brain atlases have long lagged behind atlases of the brain of worms, flies or mice, both in terms of spatial resolution and in terms of completeness due to technical limitations related to the enormous size and complexity of the human brain. This large-scale focused effort aimed to create a large resource combining different data types at high resolution, and use these data to generate a comprehensive mapping of brain regions.”
Zooming in on the hippocampus
Learn more about the Allen Human Brain Reference Atlas in our press release.