What do you use a map for? You use it to find things. You use it to remember where you’ve been. You bring it up on your iPhone when you don’t want to talk to someone so you look busy. What do neuroscientists use a brain map for? Pretty much all the same things (especially when they don’t want to deal with annoying grant deadlines).
The Allen Institute for Brain Science has released a comprehensive map of the human brain. This is big. This is really big. This means that they’ve mapped out (to the best of our ability, so far) what the brain looks like on a genetic level. They used a combination of imaging and genetic sequencing analyses to create 3D structures of the brain that can be used for future research in things like Alzheimers, obesity, or MS.
Before this map, the Allen Institute had mapped a rat brain which has lead to at least 500 scientific breakthroughs in the field of neuroscience. Researchers and scientists alike can access this free material to examine what other research has found, hoping to find some sort of overlooked, unexamined bit of information.
In the end, all this means is that we’re going to see a lot new research possible because of this. Most people won’t even know what a big impact this will have, but it’s great for research. Neuroscience FTW!