After providing all the funding for The Brain from Top to Bottom for over 10 years, the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction informed us that because of budget cuts, they were going to be forced to stop sponsoring us as of March 31st, 2013.

We have approached a number of organizations, all of which have recognized the value of our work. But we have not managed to find the funding we need. We must therefore ask our readers for donations so that we can continue updating and adding new content to The Brain from Top to Bottom web site and blog.

Please, rest assured that we are doing our utmost to continue our mission of providing the general public with the best possible information about the brain and neuroscience in the original spirit of the Internet: the desire to share information free of charge and with no adverstising.

Whether your support is moral, financial, or both, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Bruno Dubuc, Patrick Robert, Denis Paquet, and Al Daigen

Wednesday, 4 September 2013
Brodmann Areas

Korbinian Brodmann was a German neurologist. He was born in 1868, died in 1918, and was one of the explorers who attempted to map the continent of the brain. He is famous for having divided the cerebral cortex (the folded sheet of tissue at the surface of the brain) into 52 distinct areas on the basis of their cytoarchitectonic characteristics, which simply means the ways that the various types of neurons that compose the layers of the cortex are organized.

Brodmann’s intuition, which has been proven correct many times since, was that the organization of the cortex into anatomical areas was in fact related to its functional activities. For instance, some of the six layers of the cortex are thicker in its sensory areas. One example is Brodmann area 17—the primary visual cortex—which receives axons from the lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus, which in turns receives its inputs from the retina. Another example is Brodmann area 4, which comprises the primary motor cortex of the brain and from which the axons of the giant pyramidal cell layer project to the motor neurons of the spinal cord.

It is not always easy to find precise information about the other Brodmann areas, which is why the diagram of all 52 Brodmann areas on the web page to which a link is provided below is so valuable. Although that web page itself is in French, if you click on the number for any one of of these areas, you will go to a Wikipedia page describing that area in English. Each page includes an image showing the area’s location in the brain, along with a lot of information about that area’s various properties (boundaries, functions, effects of a lesion in this area, etc.). In short, this page is very helpful to keep on hand, because the Brodmann areas still constitute a useful reference on locations in the brain.

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