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Better brain maps. Red and yellow indicate regions with high myelin levels; blue, purple and black areas have low myelin levels (credit: David Van Essen) Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St.
Louis have developed a new technique that provides rapid access to brain landmarks formerly only available at autopsy. Better brain maps will result in speeding up efforts to understand how the healthy brain works and potentially aiding in future diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders, the researchers said. The technique combines data from two types of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. It makes it possible for scientists to map myelination, the degree to which branches of brain cells are covered by a white sheath known as myelin, which speeds up long-distance signaling.