Human Connectome Project: Neuroscientist

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A human’s cognitive ability is unlike any other animal on the earth. Compared to other animals, the human brain possesses more neurons and synapses, tallying eighty-six billion and one hundred fifty trillion respectively. The wiring of the brain and its connections are responsible for human’s superior cognition. Thus, the reason neuroscientists pursue research of neural connections is obvious; neural connections are the fundamental basis of individual expression. Many famous neuroscientists, each with their own twist, are currently working to map the trillions of connections within the brain. The end goal of such research is a comprehensive map, or connectome, displaying the neural circuitry of the brain. Brain plasticity and complexity pose …show more content…
David C. Van Essen is one of many connectome projects across the globe. Dr. Van Essen engineered the human connectome project from a previous study two decades ago where he and his collaborators from California Institute of Technology mapped the connections of the visual areas of the Macaque monkey. Inspired by his Macaque monkey research, Dr. Van Essen transferred his academic curiosity to the human brain and its trillion synapses. After receiving two grants from the National Institute of Health, Dr. Van Essen’s Human Connectome Project (HCP) was fully funded. Dr. Van Essen chose to focus the HCP on long distance synapses within the gray matter of the cerebral cortex, otherwise known as the human macro connectome. In his Ted Talk he mentions briefly other neuroscientists studying the human micro connectome. Thus, the HPC had large goals for a relatively unexplored area of …show more content…
The medical field is transitioning into what neuroscientists have called “the age of the brain.” Medicine is beginning to grasp the significance of mental illness. In the past medicine dismissed the severity of mental illness, providing diagnoses with more “substance.” However, today mental illness is treated as a very real sickness, which can be treated with medication and therapy. Understanding the neural connections within the brain will allow physicians to distinguish the difference between patients at the neuronal level. Many years from now I think all patients will have a map of their unique brain wiring, which in turn will provide physicians with individually tailored treatment

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