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Networking Skills
20 August 2015

Networking Skills

The brain is an extraordinary organ, achieving extremely complex functions with a highly efficient web of inter-connecting cells, known as neurons. Efficiency in a network is a balance of having the minimum number of connections, which are costly to produce and maintain, while retaining maximum navigability, meaning that all pathways from one point to another are as short as possible. Scientists modelling the optimal neural network found that it closely resembled the real organisation of the human brain; in the model pictured, all the purple links represent the connections found both in the optimal system determined by the researchers and in a real human brain. These are likely to be the most crucial pathways for the brain’s function, so identifying them could help pinpoint areas which are probably involved in most neurological disorders, in turn facilitating the design of effective treatments.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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