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Journey to the center of the brain
July 4, 2008 7:50 PM   Subscribe

Mapping the Structural Core of Human Cerebral Cortex. A new study of the connections in the brain has identified the brain's central hub.
posted by homunculus (14 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm gonna hate myself for this, but... eponysterical?
posted by claudius at 8:04 PM on July 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


Not really eponysterical, unless you think of a homunculus literally squatting inside your head, manning a switchboard. Is that how people think of a homunculus? Maybe I am out of the loop on the modern perception of a homunculus.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 8:15 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


But the wiring diagram is a first step toward understanding how the brain is structured and how it communicates.

The first step? Seems like a very odd thing to say, we have been making progress in understanding the brain for decades. We're still a long way off, obviously, but this seems like an incremental step rather then a 'first step'.
posted by delmoi at 8:30 PM on July 4, 2008


I'm willing to believe that cortex is human (though I've never met him), but cerebral? I thought mathowie was the brains of the operation.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:43 PM on July 4, 2008


phrenology 2.0
posted by phrontist at 8:54 PM on July 4, 2008


Due to a flaw in it's design, a small thermal exhaust port leads directly to this "Central Hub". A direct hit will certainly destroy it.
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:55 PM on July 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


unless you think of a homunculus literally squatting inside your head

We don't squat, we dance!
posted by homunculus at 9:05 PM on July 4, 2008


cortex must be cerebral, since he deals with the Big Big Questions.
posted by lukemeister at 9:54 PM on July 4, 2008


Note to science journalists fond of republican brains look like this, democratic brain look like that. This is how you do a brain imaging study.
posted by afu at 11:36 PM on July 4, 2008


synaesthetichaze:Not really eponysterical, unless you think of a homunculus literally squatting inside your head, manning a switchboard. Is that how people think of a homunculus?
Yes. And you, homunculus, you are not permitted to go near that model. It will be pain to get you out if you get stuck again.
posted by Free word order! at 5:10 AM on July 5, 2008


Thanks for the link, Free word order. I can always count on wikipedia to illustrate clearly the details of, e.g., the Mind-Body Problem.

I had never heard the term Cartesian Theater, however; it is a funny extrapolation from what I think most people would agree on: when I am thinking about, say, a marmot (as in the diagram), my mind is obviously not manipulating the actual thing, but a representation. But take this to its logical conclusion (?), and I end up with a little guy watching movies inside of my skull. I suppose I can't take a theory of mind seriously unless it is based in some kind of observation of the brain from the beginning, but I am neither a philosopher nor a neuroscientist, so I am not qualified to take anything seriously.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 8:48 AM on July 5, 2008


This is a truly wonderful study, and the phrenology comment above, while apt for so many imaging studies, is completely misplaced here. The figures are worth the admission, even if you never read a word.
posted by fcummins at 10:33 AM on July 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe I am out of the loop on the modern perception of a homunculus.
there is another definition...that of a human figure drawn so that the proportions of his parts are proportional to the area of the brain that that part occupies... here is one (somewhat NSFW...plenty more on google image search)

but cerebral? I thought mathowie was the brains of the operation.
well, the article does state that the most important part of the cortex is his posterior...

this seems like an incremental step rather then a 'first step'.
yeah, one would think the first step would be to see if you could make a potato clock out of it...
posted by sexyrobot at 12:00 PM on July 5, 2008


hello? anybody still here? facinating story in the march 2008 scientific american about the role of myelination in the brain (article here, but requires subscription or purchase) (the role is, apparently to create a simultaneity of signal arrival at particular points in the brain by selectively speeding up parts of that signal by wrapping brain cells in juicy bacon fat) particularly, one illustration of myelin levels in the brain over time...this 'hub' they're talking about is the last place to get myelinated (suggesting that it is the place where the signals are meant to get to simultaneously)
posted by sexyrobot at 8:23 AM on July 8, 2008


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