Map of the human brain over our lifespan created from 120,000+ MRIs

Scientists have created a comprehensive look at the progression of the brain from before birth to late in life with 123,984 MRIs.

Published Sun, Apr 10 2022 5:57 AM CDT   |   Updated Mon, May 2 2022 6:01 PM CDT

A study on the new brain map titled "Brain charts for the human lifespan" has been published in the journal Nature.

Map of the human brain over our lifespan created from 120,000+ MRIs 01 |

Researchers pooled a combined 123,984 magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans from 101,457 individuals, with participant ages ranging from a 16-week-old fetus to a 100-year-old adult, to create a comprehensive look at how the brain changes during our lives. The scans were collected from over a hundred previous studies and standardized for comparison in a database you can view here.

"There are no standardized growth charts for brain development like there are for other growth metrics such as height and weight, despite the fact that we know the brain goes through many changes over the human lifespan," said neuroscientist Aaron Alexander-Bloch from the University of Pennsylvania.

"Our work brings together a huge amount of imaging data that will continue to grow, allowing researchers and eventually clinicians to evaluate brain development against standardized measures," Alexander-Bloch continued.

The progression of the brain starts with rapid growth in the early stages of life and slowly shrinks later on as we age, with this new study showing how different parts of the brain grow differently. Gray matter volume increases at a rapid rate before age six and slows down afterward, while white matter growth peaks just before age 29.

You can read more from the study here.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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