A primary goal of investigations into the organization of human cerebral cortex is to determine the functional specificity of architectonic regions. This includes the correlation of neurobehavioral deficits with neuropath- ological data for clinical diagnosis and treatment, and the identification of active brain regions using functional neural imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography, electroencephalographic and magnetoen- cephalographic (EEG and MEG) source localization algorithms, and direct cortical stimulation. Currently, the architectonic classification of a cortical region identified by these methods is inferred from the comparison of its cerebral topographic position to cytoarchitectonic brain atlases. However, substantial intersubject variability in the position of cytoarchitectonic regions with respect to cerebral topographic landmarks may lead to errors in this procedure. An alternative method is presented here, which uses magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to identify myeloarchitectonic regions of isocortex directly by estimating the relative concentration of myelin within cortical laminae. This high-resolution MR protocol is used to identify striate cortex (Brodmann’s area 17) and extrastriate cortex in vivo. Correspondence of MR signal intensity with myeloarchitectonic data from a postmortem brain confirms this identification. As MR imaging technology improves, this noninvasive method has the potential to identify and discriminate among at least 50 cortical regions in the living human brain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience