Creating the most complex map in Human History 🧠

Images of functional connectivity between regions of interest in the brain based on the dataset I downloaded and processed

Intro to Connectomics

Image of a 500-year old map that helped guide Chris Columbus

“Sounds Unnecessary”.

Connectomics is about creating a detailed mapping system like Google Maps. Right now we have a ancient understanding. Imagine trying to find your way from the Empire State Building, NY to the Hollywood Hills, LA with a map that was used by Christopher Columbus. This is what we’re doing right now. We’re trying to create a new map; one which is more efficient, effective, realistic, and representative of the thousands of illnesses which affect the brain.

MRI and fMRI — Functional Connectivity

Image of an MRI machine from Radiology Affiliates Imaging
Diagram from ResearchGate illustrates the relationship between neural activity and BOLD signals

Functional Connectivity

Image of different nodes identified during default preprocessing with CONN toolbox
An example of a connectome ring. Different colors represent the strength of connections: blue represents the lack of functional connections and red represent strong functional connections

Making a Movie — Structural Connectivity

Image from ResearchGate shows the process of analyzing brain slices
Slide from Sebastian Seung: I am my connectome
Slide from Sebastian Seung: I am my connectome

Deep Learning

This part of the code I used to create a Multi-Layer Perceptron (a type of feed-forward neural network) that is used for image classification. It predicts the image passed in is the number “5” (trained on numbers 0–9) with ~98% accuracy.

Wrapping it Up 🔑

  1. Connectomics can be used to treat various diseases including schizophrenia, dementia, bipolar, and many others. By mapping the individual connections in the brain we can better understand these illnesses and personalize treatment to the patients that suffer from them.
  2. Connectomics can potentially also be used to “download” or store memories. This is because it is believed our memories are stored in our synapses and the mapping of someone’s synapses would allow their memories to be recognized and thus, downloaded.
  3. Connectomics can also forever change artificial intelligence. Neuroscience and machine learning give back to each other and as our understanding of the brain develops so will the development of machine learning.

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TEDx Speaker | HYRS Alum (Neurosurgical RA) | TKS Student | SHAD Alum | 2021 Calgary Brain Bee Winner

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Adam Gulamhusein

Adam Gulamhusein

TEDx Speaker | HYRS Alum (Neurosurgical RA) | TKS Student | SHAD Alum | 2021 Calgary Brain Bee Winner

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