A reader called me to say how much he enjoyed my book, The Other Brain, and then confided the true reason for his call: he wanted to share with me an extraordinary change in his brain and ask for my neurobiological insight. “After having a stroke I found that I could read other people’s minds,” he said.
As a kid, one of my dreams was to be able to look at the brain with a microscope and find every connection between each neuron. When I started neuroscience research, I realized this was an unrealistic dream – the number of connections is too big. To find all the connections between every neuron in a chunk of brain smaller than one cubic millimeter, I would have to spend years, if not decades, under the electron microscope, clicking on a computer. Completing the entire brain would be impossible in a lifetime, even for a large group of scientists. Recently, a professor at the MIT has developed a tool that might change this. Continue reading