An EPFL scientist has pinpointed the signs of brain activity that make up our brain fingerprint, which – like our regular fingerprint – is unique.
“I think about it every day and dream about it at night. It’s been my whole life for five years now,” says Enrico Amico, a scientist and SNSF Ambizione Fellow at EPFL’s Medical Image Processing Laboratory and the EPFL Center for Neuroprosthetics. He’s talking about his research on the human brain in general, and on brain fingerprints in particular. He learned that every one of us has a brain “fingerprint” and that this fingerprint constantly changes in time. His findings have just been published in Science Advances.
“My research examines networks and connections within the brain, and especially the links between the different areas, in order to gain greater insight into how things work,” says Amico. “We do this largely using MRI scans, which measure brain activity over a given time period.” His research group processes the scans to generate graphs, represented as colorful matrices, that summarize a subject’s brain activity. This type of modeling technique is known in scientific circles as network neuroscience or brain connectomics. “All the information we need is in these graphs, that are commonly known as “functional brain connectomes”. The connectome is a map of the neural network. They inform us about what subjects were doing during their MRI scan – if they were resting or performing some other tasks, for example. Our connectomes change based on what activity was being carried out and what parts of the brain were being used,” says Amico.
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