If you find it hard to keep up with Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks, spare a thought for the brain. With 100 to 500 trillion synaptic connections, the human brain dwarfs all of them. How do those connections work to formulate thought, recall memories, or perform any basic brain function? An expanding repertoire of neuroimaging and molecular techniques is empowering scientists to delve into this mass of activity to unpack elaborate processes.
As reported in a number of recent papers, researchers are finding an uncanny degree of interlinkage between a set of cortical regions; gaining insight into how network patterns change with time; correlating memory function with structural connectivity and electrical oscillations; and identifying neural networks that underlie specific branches of memory.