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Language pathways of the brain

Stephanie J Forkel and Ahmad Beyh, Natbrainlab, King’s College London; Alfonso de Lara Rubio, King’s College London

The brain is composed of two types of matter. Grey matter contains cells, and is responsible for processing information. White matter connects these areas of grey matter, allowing information to be transferred between distant areas of the brain.

Areas responsible for speech and language have been mapped to two different brain regions. This image shows a 3D-printed reconstruction of the white matter pathway connecting these two areas (here shown from the left) which is called the arcuate fasciculus.

The dimensions of the 3D model are 9 cm x 7.5 cm x 10 cm.

Imaging technique: tractography

To create this model, a map of the white matter pathway was generated using a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) called diffusion imaging, which tracks the movement of water molecules. The data from the scan was used to create a 3D model made from clear resin, using 3D-printing technology. The 3D model was then illuminated using different coloured lights to create this image.

Location where image was created

London, UK

Image creators

Stephanie and Ahmad work together as research scientists at Natbrainlab at King’s College London. Stephanie studies how language processes recover after brain damage, and Ahmad focuses on the brain networks of the human visual system. For this project, they collaborated with Alfonso, who is an MRI specialist also working at King’s College London. Alfonso provides technical engineering support to research projects that use MRI, including diffusion tractography, as used for this image. Find out more.

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