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A Better Map of One of the Most Important Places in the World


Map of 180 areas in the left and right hemispheres of the cerebral cortex.
Illustration: Matthew F. Glasser, David C. Van Essen, Washington University Medical School, St. Louis

When you want to learn more about a place, it helps to have a detailed map. This is true for scientists who study the brain.

Fortunately, a better map of the brain is now available.

As reported in the journal Nature, an NIH-funded team of researchers is bringing a map of the human brain into sharper focus.

The team started with cutting-edge brain images from hundreds of healthy young men and women. They subdivided the brain’s outer layer called the cerebral cortex into 180 specific areas in each hemisphere.

This is remarkable because before this, almost 100 of those areas had never been described.

To create the map, Drs. Matthew Glasser and David Van Essen of the Washington University Medical School, St. Louis, and their colleagues used information from the National Institutes of Health’s Human Connectome Project.

This new high-resolution brain map will help increase our understanding of the human brain. In the future, a better map of the brain will also help with the diagnosis and treatment of many brain disorders.

For more scientific information on the project, NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research Opens new window.

NIH Support: National Institute of Mental Health; NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research

Physical Activity May Reduce Risk of 13 Types of Cancer

New research has shown that greater levels of leisure-time physical activity were associated with a lower risk of developing 13 types of cancer.

The risk of developing seven of the 13 cancer types was as much as 20 percent lower among the most active participants in the study, compared to the least active participants. The most active people did the equivalent of seven hours of brisk walking or two and a half hours of jogging each week. Examples of physical activity included walking, running, swimming, and other fitness activities.

This research from the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society supports the importance of physical activity in cancer prevention.

Researchers used information from 1.44 million people, ages 19 to 98, from the United States and Europe. The study’s participants reported on their own physical activity.

The risk of developing the first seven cancer types was 20 percent or lower among the most active people as compared with the least active people.

  1. Esophageal adenocarcinoma
  2. Liver cancer
  3. Lung cancer
  4. Kidney cancer
  5. Gastric cardia (stomach) cancer
  6. Endometrial cancer
  7. Myeloid leukemia

For the remaining six, risk was 10 percent to 20 percent lower among the most active people.

  1. Myeloma
  2. Colon cancer
  3. Head and neck cancer
  4. Rectal cancer
  5. Bladder cancer
  6. Breast cancer

The lesson? No matter what type of body you have or your smoking history, physical activity is important.

For more information about cancer and this study, visit NIH National Cancer Institute Opens new window or call NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.

Fall 2016 Issue: Volume 11 Number 3 Page 28