How Close Are We to a Complete Map of the Human Brain?

How Close Are We to a Complete Map of the Human Brain?

When you think about all the things humans
have put their mind to, it’s impressive: we built and landed robots on Mars to learn
more about space. We conjured up theories about how the universe
works — and then proved them right. We sequenced the human genome to paint a complete
picture of our dna. but as for the minds that made this all possible, we still don’t know
much about how those actually work. Scientists have been trying to navigate the
mechanics of our large, complicated brains for hundreds of years. What would be really helpful is if we had
a map. And in order to get one of those, we’re
going to need some brave scientists and very advanced technology. So how close are we to mapping the human brain? If we could build a complete map of our brain
and translate it, imagine what we could do: We think maybe that will give us clues as
to the causes of various forms of mental illness, learning difficulties, diseases of aging. And that might better allow us to figure out,
are there treatments? Or prevent the onset of some of those illnesses. A map of the brain could even help us understand
other scientific mysteries, like the origins of consciousness. Our brain is so powerful that if we better
understood how it worked, we might be able to create smarter robots and computers. There is this technology in our brain for
… actually, in the brain of every mammal, that allow us to behave autonomously. It is very power-efficient. A map of the human brain is seen as so valuable
that multiple efforts across the world are underway to get us there. Aside from some big projects in the U.S. — we’ll
get to those later — the European commission is funding 100 universities to create a detailed
computer model of the human brain. China also announced a project to map the
brain, and so has Japan. There’s even several private projects focused
on this goal. So what do we mean when we say a map of the
human brain? Specifically, we’re talking about creating
something called a “connectome” — a complete catalog of all the structures in
the brain and how they connect. We typically think of there being both a structural
and a functional connectome. So the structural connectome is the white
matter fibers that connect different parts of the brain or the synapses that connect
neurons. And we call that structural because there’s
a physical synapse there that we can measure and look at. We’re kind of making more of a roadmap of
connections among brain regions.But there’s also what we call functional connections in
the human brain, which have to do with kind of coordination and function across brain
regions. That means identifying parts of the brain
that work together but don’t necessarily touch. We don’t have any fully mapped functional
connectomes yet and the only structural connectome we’ve fully mapped is of “C elegans,”
a transparent nematode about 1 millimeter in length. Even though they’ve been able to do that,
it’s still a complex organism. And there’s still a lot of work to be done
to understand how the interactions give rise to even the relatively simple behaviors that
the C elegans can accomplish. The connectome of the c. elegans brain identifies
302 neurons. And if researching and building that connectome
was complicated, now imagine how exponentially more difficult it is to do the same with humans,
who have somewhere in the region of 100 billion neurons. This is probably the first obstacle scientists
have to overcome in mapping our brains — the sheer size and daunting complexity. So, they have to start small, and I mean really
small — the samples they are studying are the size of a grain of sand. Inside that small grain of sand, there’s about
100,000 neurons and form about one billion connections. So now, you see our brain is more than a million
times bigger than this grain of sand, so you can see how much units are compressed in such
a small space. And the brain is always changing, which makes
it even more difficult to study. When we’re born, the brain grows over the
course of development. It builds new neurons, we’re learning and
interacting with the environment and that’s also shaping brain connections and how different
parts of the brain work together. but then it also starts to change as we get
older and we move into later in life. To tackle these challenges, the Obama administration
started the Brain Initiative in 2014, bringing several scientific institutions together to
understand and treat the human mind. As part of that coalition, the Allen Institute
is analyzing mouse brain samples to count, catalog, and connect the many different cell
types — as a foundation for eventually doing the same for the human brain. Using electron microscopy, the team imaged
billions of tiny synaptic connections in a cubic millimeter of mouse neocortex. Mapping the, the brain, at least at the resolution
that we do it is difficult because many things have to go right in the series. Preparing the sample has to be perfect. Scientists had to section the grain-sized
brain sample into 25,000 pristine slices 40 nanometers wide. For reference, a strand of hair is five times
as thick as that. Then those slices were distributed over six
electron microscopes to be photographed. It took us about five months to take all the
pictures of that millimeter cube.I don’t have the final tally, but there’s certainly hundreds
of millions of those. This type of data gathering took exhaustive,
dedicated work around the clock. When all the images were collected, researchers
could then segment each single neuron and create a 3D wiring diagram…step one towards
that complete structural connectome, which the team estimates will take five years to
finish. In terms of data storage was about two petabytes
of data. That’s about 2 million gigabytes from just
a millimeter. To eventually work with bigger human brain
samples, something about this process will have to change, as it will eventually be the
largest data set ever collected about anything in the world. I think substantial, substantial advances
on sample preparations, sample sectioning. And above all, the storage of such will be
immense. Either technology will have to evolve in a
way that such storage is available or our sampling will have to evolve in ways that
we can compress that, that information that we want to extract from it. We’ll also need forms of technology that
aren’t as invasive as this, so we can study live human brains, too. And to develop a really robust map, we’re
going to need to work with more than just 1 single brain. We’ll need to study young brains, old brains,
male brains, female brains. We collected a pretty interesting and unique
sample of 1200 individuals. The human connectome project, led by the NIH,
is using non-invasive tools to study human brains now. So the main tool we use to start out is an
MRI machine. If we’re looking at the structural connectome,
we typically use something called diffusion imaging. It’s looking at the diffusion of water along
these white matter connections in the brain. And if you have a nice strong connection going
in a certain direction between two parts of the brain, we can measure that. We do something pretty different though when
we look at the functional connectome in the human brains. So we still use an MRI scanner, but we use
a different kind of sequence. It’s looking actually at blood flow in the
brain that we think happens after there has been neural activity. So if you’re looking at brain activity in
a brain region going up and down over time, you can say, “Are there other brain regions
that show that same pattern?” And if the patterns are very similar over
time, we call those functionally connected brain regions. So far, the human connectome project has made
a lot of advances in this area of mapping the brain. In 2016, they released the most detailed map
of the cerebral cortex to date, discovering 97 new brain regions in addition to confirming
the existence of 83 others. We understand much more now about how different
brain regions kind of wire up together to form networks. We’re starting to get a good sense of how
those networks relate to which types of behaviors. Where I think we still have work to do is
understanding exactly how those contribute or are changed by the experience of illnesses,
how different kinds of environmental factors might have an impact. So this challenge is immense. It will push our technology and creativity
to their furthest limits; but so did sending robots to mars, and sequencing the human genome…
and we did all that. So how close are we to mapping the human brain? The biggest barriers keeping us from building
a highly detailed human connectome is really technology. In my scientific lifetime, the progress
has been exponential. So I wouldn’t be surprised in 10 or 20 years
if we had a sort of dramatic leap in our understanding. I think we may never have a map of every connection
in the human brain in the sense of understanding exactly how they interact together to give
rise to exactly all the human behavioral and cognitive and emotional abilities. That’s a tall order and I’m not entirely convinced
that we will ever be there. Looking at the shapes of those neurons they
are beautiful. They make me happy. We and our collaborators are the first ones
to see such, such, such detail at such scale on the brain and that’s like the, the old
explorers when they arrived at the new continent. We are, you know, we are mapping this, we
are going into, into a territory where, where things are new. For more episodes of How Close Are We, check
out this playlist right here. Don’t forget to subscribe and come back
to Seeker for more episodes. Thanks for watching.


  • Seeker says:

    Neuroscience really is mind blowing, isn’t it? What brain mysteries are you most excited for scientists to solve?

  • David Heller says:


  • Jack Blue says:

    Why don’t we try to operate organs and work back from that?

  • Ralph K says:

    The largest dataset ever. Yet our brains hold it all (including the nervous system which I consider part of the brain inclusively). Perhaps we are going to have to develop crystal holographic memory storage, or another biological system to get there.

  • Holographic Multiverse says:

    The real Brain is your Gut. The Soular Gate ☀️

  • Holographic Multiverse says:

    This is what the Brain looks like: 1

  • Javier Ivona says:

    you use the words “brain“ and “mind“ interchangeably. Because f*ck philosophy of mind right?

  • kehvan says:

    Parts of THE BRAIN were in a jar in Wichita, Kansas, but I can't draw you a map to it.

  • Naeem Raza says:

    Man look at your size .. check your size

  • Bob Saget says:

    It's crazy that the things between our ears, are still the most advanced thing yet known to us in the universe.

  • Conor Boyle says:

    “A male brain and a female brain” – I thought gender was a construct ?

  • The Azam says:

    I wonder how's the brain structure of a person who retains complex information. Examples, polyglot, one who memorises names of countries, Periodic table, world maps, Quran, etc.

    I bet there's an exceptionally strong neurones connections happening right there. 🤔😅

  • Kristopher Jones says:

    I have high functioning autism i wanna know more about my neurological disorder how I can Improve it

  • konsul2006 says:

    100 Billion neurons, yet some still manage to *low their *rains out ¯_(ツ)_/¯

  • Gray Matter says:

    Male brains. Female brains.

    No toaster brains here.

  • MeMyself AndI says:

    Cute Shirt!

  • Frank Bob says:

    Funny how the government wants this to be done soon. I wonder how much more they want to control the general masses.

  • F13 Media says:

    Its funny the scientist is like i doubt we will make it in the long run. but i think she kinda forgot about machine learning an ai comming lol.they should actually already doing machine learning and train Ai to do it….. they would only need to do it for another year and then the AIs would do it 100 times faster than humans.

  • richie1326 says:

    Your shirt is challenging my brain Julian…

  • HauntedLolita says:

    So, despite it being the topic of the video, the closest to an estimate is 20 years maybe if we're lucky?

    The title of the 10 minute video was only sorta addressed for a few seconds.

  • Henrik Kowalski says:

    Ok awesome mistake in the first few seconds. You can't prove a theory right you can only prove to wrong

  • LoveRyuDo says:

    Watch "the living matrix " then you will see that it is already proven that the brain is not our main tool of thinking. Our thoughts and emotions creats fields arround our body. Our auras are a field that you can photograph. Our body is way too complex so it will take for ever if you like to understand how our body works.


    Researchers still think it’s an estimated 100 billion neurons.

    A scientist named Suzana Herculano-Houzel, tested it around 86 billion neurons. That’s just one test, so it still could be around 100B. Maybe billions decayed within the experiment.

    Here the link to her study-

  • Lunatic _ says:

    I rather expected information on what we do and what we don't know. The map itself isn't very much the idea of a super cool "wow thats sick" 3-D animation. It's rather elaborating on our knowledge of neuroanatomy. And it's almost ludicrous to believe we can map neuroanatomy so specific as each individual neuron and it's function. For no two cortexe function the same way. I would argue our progress on mapping the brain is very elaborate already. We know how our brain maps our body and where, and how it uses that map to react to sensory and motor stimula. We know the regions of the cortexe for sound, image, smell and taste and have an idea of how they correspend with other regions in the cerebrum. I'm super annoyed with the fact that we can't go further yet, but I also have to be honest and feel we may never hope for much more then this.

  • Mervin Ho Yen Wey says:

    *female brain *
    Triggered Snow flecks 😂

  • Acegodfather12 says:

    Everyone’s brain is different, right? Since the creation of memories are new connections, so nobody will have the exact same memories and connections?

  • Kassondra Ola says:

    This is awesome. Can we use this to measure brain damage?

  • lekiscool says:

    The amount of work put into this is insane.

  • DontWrite9's4ever says:

    exposure to religion, quirky genetics, bad parenting, toxins in an environment or at pre-birth, bad public education,…..ect. leads to mental illness.

  • The Mestizoperspective says:

    Smarter robots and computers? Elon musk said that will be a MAJOR mistake, i support his claim, but i guess everyone fates it's own demise.

  • Mike Price says:

    How might sir Rodger Penrose and Hammer offs conjecture of microtubules fit into this

  • James D says:

    The brain has already been figured out by the western military and the intelligence agencies who are now ILLEGALLY testing this technology out on citizens such as myself… Media is also being maliciously run by the western intelligence agencies to put out the falsehood that understanding of the brain is "years/ decades" away.

  • Sander Verhage says:

    Looking at a few individual neurons is like looking at some transistors in a microprocessor. Yes it can be fascinating, but it will not show you how the processor functions. I think a map of functional regions and how they connect is the way to go. Later focus on individual regions and try to understand and map these. But starting top down makes more sense in understanding the brain. Something I noticed is the way main pathways are organized. They are very symmetrical over the left and right hemispheres. This implies the hemispheres are structured the same way. Maybe there's also some kind of symmetry in the functions, the hemispheres perform.

  • Sach S says:

    Too much technology it’s dangerous

  • Katie Giles says:

    A 15sec. non skippable ad. Hmm…sometimes I wonderrr……the true purpose…..of this chanellllll……

  • Edge 737 says:

    Imagine if one day we can update our brains just like a computer software or install new apps!

  • Pappaperc says:

    The brain is the landscape of the psyche

  • Tim Woods says:

    Taking drugs will help them. Facts

  • Rohan Ankalkote says:

    1mm = 2 PB……okay if this dosen't get improved forget that mapping.

  • Riccardo Basile says:

    Do a How Close Are We to a space elevator! That would be quite a breakthrough!

  • Bobby A says:

    I'm pure energy..

  • Sir Quacksalot says:

    You guys remember the first episode? 😉

  • Jordan Read says:

    Are we sure that elephant wasnt being abused to create that painting? Referencing a subscreen within the beginning of the video.

  • ParaShakthi Devi Meenakshi says:

    Bhagwan Sri Nithyananda Paramashivam (Swamiji) has mapped the human brain and is inviting scientists to come and experience his knowledge.
    Introducing Mahasadashiva & Multiple Dimensions of the Universe – Royal Sacred Secrets

  • Naimul Haq says:

    Our five senses, our brain and all our cells act in unison to fabricate a quantum computing function. How do you map it?

  • V1Gibby says:

    I’m predicting that we will have the entire human brain mapped and understood no later than 2033.

  • stylomojo says:

    Can someone tell what brainscan is most affordable? Im 5f3" need bigger brain to do business degree after 5semesters .

  • Booboobear2388 says:

    Let's suppose someone is going down the street talking to himself. He says he is communing with his higher conscientiousness. He begins to speak of concepts that are foreign and strange to others. Those around him who hear what he is speaking can react in one of two ways. They can listen with an open mind and suddenly realize what he is saying is wonderous and profound truth. Or they can label it as non-sense and have him arrested as a danger to society. They will then say he has a "mental illness" and have him locked up for "his own good and the good of others."
    In one society, he will be seen as a great teacher and philosopher.
    In the other society, he will be seen as a madman.

    It all depends on how the "experts" (i.e. psychologists) interpret his behavior. In other words, "mental illness" does not reside in the person being evaluated but solely in the mind of the psychologists. If you were to do a autopsy on a "mentally ill" person who has died, you would find no trace of a psychology disorder. Why? Because it doesn't exist.

    This exact thing has happened before. Many centuries ago people did imaging going to the moon or exploring space. They were visionaries and were open to new ideas. But if they spoke out about these things, they were seen as a little "touched" (old world terminology for mental illness.)

    For years airline pilots were seeing colored flashing lights arcing above violent thunderstorms. Those who reported these lights usually had their flying medicals revoked for "psychological reasons." In the 1990s, physicist discovered "sprites", "blue jets" and "elves." Very high energy discharges above thunderstorms reaching almost into space. The airline pilots who had their careers destroyed were not crazy. That fake label was placed on them by psychologists. Their "mental illness" did not exist.

  • Elias Gallegos says:

    So how close are we? 20 to infinity years…. Take your pick

  • flameout12345 says:

    nice, we yet don't know how much water we need a day. Don't reply if you still say that 8 glasses cause that was debunked.

  • Peaces says:

    Lots of mice were killed for this video, Their brains were scooped out like a mad scientists jello

  • Peaces says:

    Humans won't figure it out, Ai's will.

  • aliu saho says:

    I disagree we don't need a large storage to map the human brain anymore. In 2018 Scientists have created a algorithm to simulate the brains 100 billion neurons with today's super computer storage but the new algorithm needs a exascale computer to run it, which we are close to create.

  • xxbatman69 xx says:

    Shoot it may seem impossible until you realize people years and years ago thought they wouldn't leave earth

  • Don Juan says:


  • numb says:

    My and tens of thousands of people are victim of these experiments. The things they can do is stuff of a nightmare, and of course they also do it, again and again and again, every single day, day in and day out, year after year, til you die. Think concentration camp, but wireless.

  • Tutu Tutu says:

    We can

  • Jamie Horwath says:

    If there's anything we've learned from The Terminator, it's don't make robots smart.

  • Ares Arts says:

    Neuralink is the closest we've gotten so far

  • mohsen doraghi says:

    Science is proving there is a God.

  • TrendThis says:

    While the scientists were building the data center to process and analyze all the data about the brain using machine learning + AI, they inadvertently created the biggest artificial brain. Meta.

    Hey guys, Im currently unemployed, and got rejected by three companies. I have a few more job interviews lined up this week so I'm hopeful. I believe in karma and the good of ppl on the internet. Share some good vibes to help me get through this rut. Send cash @ $upremeEmperor thru Square Cash App thank you 🙏

  • TrendThis says:

    And Gay brains.

  • domYe says:

    Yesterday I was just thinking about how we would map the human brain.

    Today, a YouTube video about how to map the human brain suddenly appears in my feed.

    Weird times man…

  • Atom Ant says:

    Could it be that universe = brain ? Mapping will prove it?

  • Kustom Denver says:

    A bunch of liquidexplosives in tube and a remote control RC car are our greatest achievements lol

  • Jesus Rodriguez says:

    I hope they map it so people won't suffer from mental illnesses…

  • MakeMeThinkAgain says:

    The bigger question is: Plaid, why?

  • Jack U oo says:

    Allah is our God ! he created us perfect and complete Allahu Akbar

  • Zach Jones says:

    Need to get Elon on this.

  • No No says:

    I wonder how many variants within given perimeters of similarity there will be of connectomes? Not just observable, but possible and effective that are outside of the evolutionary patterns. Would like to see the most naturally optimum vs the most optimum outside of what would naturally be. The wheel did not evolve from a leg.

  • governor Hunter says:

    If only quantum computers work it would be easy peazy

  • Solve Everything says:

    Video is massive babble:
    How close are we? We need a 100PetaFlop super computer to simulate a basic functional human brain.

    China has successfully built a 100Petaflop computer.

    Now only the model and the code is missing./Thread.

  • Martin Whyte says:

    After all this data, scientists still believe man was created over evolution from the "Big Bang"? Man was definitely created by a genius supernatural being. Surely there's a God out there

  • Generic Username says:

    I always hate when a scientist says "We may never".
    1) If I went back to 1980 and told someone I had a device in 2019 that had access to all the information in the world, could instantly communicate with anyone, take pictures/videos, do a whole bunch of other things, and the device fits into my pocket people would have said "That will never happen".
    2) If I told people in the 1930s that in the 1960s not only would everyone be flying in planes but that someone would be on the moon they would have said "That will never happen".

    Technology advances so fast anything deemed "unlikely" will be reality in a fairly short time.

  • vasuv vasuv says:

    Company vacancy available

  • Mahmoud Alsayed says:

    Imagine Neuralink and Human Brain Project working together! 😄

  • Deepankar Lodh says:

    Isn't that same as mapping our universe?

  • ElSmusso says:

    If you have sold your soul, you’ve made a good deal 😉

  • Allen Munich says:

    Now can we see how this will help us make a artificial brain because I'm sure we will

  • Cautioncrazy says:

    2 petabytes?
    Just store it in DNA.

    I see you've already done a video on it a couple years back, maybe a follow up?

  • 2PhoneSensei says:

    6:38 damn this foo looks like an alien & talking about needing brains wtf lol

  • TK Wilson says:

    Straight up bullshit!!! Mapping the brain won't bring you closer to understanding consciousness……Consciousness is far more complicated than what can be quantified through physical analysis!!!

  • Marlon Johnson says:

    Once they have maped the brain they've mapped the universe

  • Joseph says:

    Science an be so stupid….consciousness is not located inside the brain dummy.

  • Bobby Clifford says:

    Male brain? Female brain??? Triggered!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😂😂😂😂

  • MRhoodmoney20 says:

    Why would we want a robot or comiters that are smarter than us

  • Tarmo Saluste says:

    So they did a little bit of bitcoin mining, with 2 Petabytes? @6:00

  • Graeme Wilson says:

    I have calculated ( although I haven't any proof), that life came from Adam and Eve the metaphorical couple in the Bible. It's not that Adam had a rib taken by God, but Eve took a mystical wonder from Adam.
    The sight of Adam lured Eve to focus on his palm of his left hand, this is when Eve took the mystical wonder, just like witnessing a wave on the seashore, Eve took it and started misbehaving with it, Adam could do nothing about it? except make mystical wonders for others. "OH", I hear you say – Beware of the rabbit in the headlights?

  • Heisenberg-SchrodingerEmc2 says:

    Humans, made of atoms, are seeking to understand atoms – but we do know Heisenberg's uncertainty principle and Schrodinger's Cat are still in play. Does the role of the observer play a role in the very experiment itself. I suspect that without a thorough understanding of quantum mechanics (in particular Einstein's quantum entanglement) we may never truly understand the deep complexities of the brain. Cant wait to see what progress we make in this arena! Fascinating times ahead!

  • Aaa Aaa says:

    We can create real zombies

  • whousay Iam says:

    Obama lied to us he said we already did?

  • angel Gomez says:

    I think its already mapped. He in PR all employees from any pharmaceutical in the island, we are discussing for what are the intracranial stimulus we are receiving 24/7 since around 15 years ago. We are measuring micro Tesla in order of 40-60 closed to our heads. In worst case around 900 micro Tesla.

  • Takaiwase says:

    4:45 says mice brain, shows thyroid gland

  • LinSuen says:

    “How close are we?”

    “But how close?”
    “Really close!”

    “But how close exactly?”
    “Not that close!”

  • Siva Prasad says:

    You wasting your time because you are only a Virtual Reality Apparatus connected to the other dimension through the Brain an Antena folded and kept in a skull cage.

  • Robert Pearce says:

    When the AI Singularity arrives all this will be worked out in a flash !

  • niva zero says:

    0:43 Done reading my book

  • T T says:

    3:05 do not watch while taking a crap

  • Load On floor says:

    Weasle man!

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