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Human brain connectome project

      The brain consists of neuronal elements, wirings that connect the elements to form functional modules, and systems to support the working environment. The connectome refers to the brain’s complete set of these elements and the connections. The Human Connectome Project (HCP) aims to decipher the complex connectome of the human brain, primarily using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) modalities, including structural, diffusion, and functional MRI. To map the elements and the connections accurately, the HCP began with optimization and standardization of the data acquisition and analysis methods. Based on the cutting-edge hardware and methods developed, neuroimaging and neurocognitive data from 1200 young adults have been collected. The database is open to public to facilitate neuroscientific and data science research. The HCP has already made major scientific contributions, including parcellation of the brain into 360 neurobiologically and functionally meaningful areas. The HCP is now expanding in multiple directions, including the adoption of a longitudinal design to investigate changes in the connectome during development and aging, the study of the genetic linkage between connectomic traits and mental disorders, and studies of the connectomic features of diseases. The HCP has made impacts on neurology. The HCP scan protocol is currently one of the gold standards for clinical studies that target neurological diseases. The concept of the connectome is now widely accepted and increasing evidence indicates that alterations in the connectome are promising markers for brain diseases. One future direction is to apply the HCP-derived methods and findings to clinical practice, after rigorous validation steps.
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