Researchers have recently constructed a new computer model of the cortex of the human brain. This model is similar in principle to the more well known Blue Brain computer model, but it simulates a much larger area of the brain. It actually less detailed at the neuron level when compared to Blue Brain. The Blue Brain project has already simulated a section of the rat’s brain that is named the neocortex. The Blue Brain computer simulation has successfully modeled approximately 10,000 neurons including near 30 million synapses.
This other computer simulation, however, has successfully modeled about a trillion neurons and almost a quadrillion synapses. This specific computer model is able to model the entire thalamo-cortical system of a mammillian brain. Apparently, the researchers have made of simulation of this brain region because is is involved in creating concious awareness.
An interesting thing that the scientsts have noted from this computer model is that they witnessed the recreation of larger-scale oscillatory activity (i.e. brain waves). They merely emerged as a function of the computer model and were not programmed into it. This basically means that this computer simulation actually was ble to replicate the way a regular brain would look like on an EEG readout. This is an indication that this method of simulating the brain is actually working as it should.
This computer simulation of the human brain will allow scientists to carry out a variety of different experiments that are not currently possible to do. It will enable researchers to gain a much better insight into the workings of the brain. Things that are normally very hard to do on brain wetware may easily be done on the computer model. Researchers will have much more leeway in carrying out different experiments on this virtual brain. The computer model will allow scientists to carry out experiments that are impossible from a physical or ethical standpoint.
This computer model will enable the simulation of almost any type of brain disorder. This is a very exciting possiblity that could help a tremendous amount of people. Researchers intend to investigate disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other psychiatric disorders. The scientists also intend to investigate the effects of pharmaceutical drugs on this computer brain model. This may lead to faster FDA approval for brain drugs.
The researchers also want to learn more about consciousness and how it is constructed. I have serious doubts as to whether the computer model will actually be able to model consciousness. However, this new computer model will likely give scientists a much greater understanding of how the human brain functions. Overall, the research is extremely interesting and it has quite a few potential benefits in advancing our knowledge of the brain.
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Human brain, medial view
Image by EUSKALANATO
This is the same as "Human brain, lateral view". We have a better view of the brainstem here. Also we can see the left lateral ventricle (the big cavity) because the septum pelucidum was removed. In the upper part of lateral ventricle a series of fringes corresponding to the transversally cut corpus callosum can be observed. Behind the brainstem there is the cerebellum. Some scientists consider the cerebellum like a computer that controls activities related to balance and motor skills, so that the rest of the brain can focus on conscience. I think sometimes my cerebellum is the only part working in my brain because I keep motor skills while my conscience is absent.