Brain 'atlas' Could Help in Treatments

TEL AVIV, Israel, Sept. 7 (UPI) — Israeli researchers say they’re creating an “atlas” of human brain connections that may give insights into conditions such as autism and schizophrenia.

Yaniv Assaf of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Neurobiology is investigating how different parts of the human brain “connect” to turn this information into a “brain atlas,” a release from the university says.

Disorders like autism and schizophrenia are not localized, researchers say — there is no one place in the brain they can be found.

Assaf hopes a brain atlas will help in understanding how parts of our brain connect to other parts within, leading to a deeper understanding of these diseases.

In the research, Assaf and an international team of scientists are looking at clusters of brain wiring to help researchers produce a better working map of the brain for future research.

Their aim is to better understand connections in the brain and how they change over time. The goal is to be better able to predict the onset, then more effectively treat, brain-related diseases.

“Currently, we can map the healthy human brain past the age of puberty. But once we will assemble this atlas, we could do this scan before puberty — and maybe even in utero — to determine who’s at risk for disorders like schizophrenia, so that an early intervention therapy can be applied” Assaf said.

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