Maps can lead us to some of our favorite destinations, but did you know they may also put us on the road to better health? Now, new research in brain mapping may help find treatments to some of the most common neurological and memory disorders.
Dr. Mayank Mehta is studying the secrets of the human brain.
"We hope this could help us understand what goes wrong in Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Mayank Mehta, Professor of Neurology, Physics, and Astronomy.
Mehta is mapping neuron patterns that form when rats do simple tasks. The goal is to learn more about how different sections of the brain communicate.
"The brain has its own dynamics, its own laws of physics. If that goes wrong, clearly it will play a role in loss of memory, such as Alzheimer's or PTSD," Dr. Mehta explained.
Diseases that Dr. Arthur Toga says may one day could be treated using brain mapping.
"Our ability to look at a living brain of an individual that has a disease, or has had a traumatic brain injury, has allowed us to target exactly what has happened and suggest various therapies," Dr. Arthur Toga, Director of the UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging said.
For the first time, Dr. Toga's team has mapped the progression of Alzheimer's in the brain. This is a brain not long after diagnosis, this is the same brain at the end of the disease. You can see the tissue of the brain shrink.
"The net result is almost a four dimensional map showing you the trajectory of loss of tissue," Dr. Toga said.
While unlocking the secrets of the brain may take many years, researchers say it could lead to possible cures.
"Every few months is a bigger breakthrough," Dr. Toga said.
Researchers say they'd eventually like a large library of brain maps that will help them compare brains of people who suffer from similar diseases. This library will help doctors across the world give personalized treatment to each patient.