Brain maps online

Meeting mind maps

The Allen Institute for Brain Science today released a major update to its publicly available online resources at , including new information on aging, dementia and traumatic brain injury.

The data from this study could lead to answers to questions that have puzzled the medical community for years, such as if a person suffers a traumatic brain injury during his or her lifetime, what is the risk of developing dementia?

Allen Institute for Brain Science

“This new resource is an exciting addition to our suite of open science resources, ” Christof Koch, president and chief scientific officer of the Allen Institute said in a statement. “Researchers around the globe will be able to mine the data and explore many facets of the aged brain, which we hope will accelerate discoveries about health and disease in aging.”

The samples were made available from a study led by the Group Health Research Institute and the University of Washington. UW led the efforts to collect post-mortem samples from 107 brains ages 79 to 102. All told, the study includes data on thousands of aging adults, including detailed information on their health and mental histories, clinical diagnoses and and cognitive abilities.

The final online resource includes quantitative image data to show the disease state of each sample, protein data related to those disease states, gene expression data and clinical data (with personally identifiable information removed) for each case.

The research to create this aging brain resource was funded with a $2.37 million grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to the UW and the Allen Institute.

The Allen Institute for Brain Science was founded in 2003 and backed by $500 million from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The independent, nonprofit medical research organization’s mission is to accelerate the pace of research and understand how the human brain works in health and disease.

The Allen Institute now encompasses three entities: the Allen Institute for Brain Science; the Allen Institute for Cell Science; and the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, which was just announced last month.

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Q&A

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What is the "false memory syndrome?

False memory syndrome refers to a condition where someone has a memory that never actually took place. This syndrome is quite controversial, because it's so hard to prove that people are telling the truth about how they perceive their memories.

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