A team of scientists from the King’s College of London, the Imperial College and the University of Oxford has started the Developing Human Connectome Project, aimed at discovering how the brain develops during prenatal life. The researchers have developed a MRI technology to obtain excellent-quality images of the fetal brain, which allows to monitor its development overtime. The new technology has a better resolution than current MRI technologies, since it can scan multiple brain sections simultaneously, instead of just one. The researchers’ goal is to scan 500 fetuses in three sessions before birth; as recently announced, they have successfully completed the 100-fetuses milestone. The objectives include following the development of potential anomalies in brain anatomy and, possibly, linking them to conditions that children could contract at a later stage, such as autism.
The project is supported by the European Union with €15m funding.
(Source: Connectome Project)