Our minds are laid out like Manhattan's streets.

This is your brain on urban planning.

In a new study in Science, researchers looked at the network of fibers that carry signals from one part of the brain to the other. They unocvered a remarkably organized three-dimensional grid. According to study author Van Wedeen, the grid is a little like Manhattan "with streets running in two dimension and then the elevators in the buildings in the third dimension."

According to NPR:

Of course the human brain has a lot of folds and curves. So, Wedeen says, you have to imagine Manhattan bent into some odd shapes. But the underlying grid doesn't change. The streets intersect at 90-degree angles and the buildings rise vertically.

The grid represents a big change from the traditional model of the brain's wiring, Wedeen says. In that model, he says, "the brain looked somewhat like a plate of spaghetti or perhaps like one of those old antique telephone switchboards with a million wires running more or less at random."

 This apparently helps explain how a small number of genes could code something as complex as the human brain.

Photo credit: MGH-UCLA Human Connectome Project

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Environment

    Britain's Next Megaproject: A Coast-to-Coast Forest

    The plan is for 50 million new trees to repopulate one of the least wooded parts of the country—and offer a natural escape from several cities in the north.

  2. A small accessory dwelling unit—known as an ADU—is attached to an older single-family home in a Portland, Oregon, neighborhood.
    Design

    The Granny Flats Are Coming

    A new book argues that the U.S. is about to see more accessory dwelling units and guides homeowners on how to design and build them.

  3. Life

    Escaping Poverty Requires Almost 20 Years With Nearly Nothing Going Wrong

    MIT economist Peter Temin argues that economic inequality results in two distinct classes. And only one of them has any power.

  4. 1970s apartment complex in downtown Buffalo
    Equity

    The Last Man Standing in a Doomed Buffalo Housing Complex

    After a long fight between tenants and management, John Schmidt is waiting for U.S. Marshals to drag him out of Shoreline apartments, a Brutalist project designed by Paul Rudolph.

  5. U.S. Embassy in London
    Design

    America's Passive-Aggressive New Embassy Arrives in London

    Why can’t we let bunkers be bunkers?