There are approximately 86 billion neurons in the human brain. Over the past decades, we have made enormous progress in understanding their molecular, genetic, and structural makeup as well as their function. However, the real power of the central nervous system lies in the smooth coordination of large numbers of neurons. Neurons are thus organized on many different scales, from small microcircuits and assemblies all the way to regional brain networks. To interact effectively on all these levels, neurons, nuclei, cortical columns, and larger areas need to be connected. The study of neuronal connectivity has expanded rapidly in past years. Large research groups have recently joined forces and formed consortia to tackle the difficult problems of how to experimentally investigate connections in the brain and how to analyze and make sense of the enormous amount of data that arises in the process.
This year's neuroscience special issue is devoted to general and also several more specific aspects of research on connectivity in the brain. We invited researchers to review the most recent progress in their fields and to provide us with an outlook on what the future may hold in store.
Connection, Connection, Connection…
Science 1 November 2013:
Vol. 342 no. 6158 p. 577
Via Complexity Digest