Your Brain in 1492 Pieces


The Human Brain in 1492 Pieces

Structure, Vasculature, and Tracts



He would look down and laugh at the thought of a crash
Hear the engine moan disintegrate and move on…
Some day look down and see me still trying to escape


In a million pieces the chance of having certain moments increases

-Scrawl, Story Musgrave


Discover the New World of Neuroanatomy!

“With this incredible software you hold the future in your hands.”–Dr. Anne G. Osborn

“A wonderful product representing the future of brain atlases. Interactive, accurate, and easy to use, this atlas sets a new standard in both neuroeducation and operative planning.”–Dr. Albert L. Rhoton, Jr.

Synthesizing science and art, The Human Brain in 1492 Pieces: Structure, Vasculature, and Tracts will allow clinicians, educators, and researchers in neuroradiology, neurosurgery, neurology, or neuroscience to explore, understand, and teach the intricacies of the human brain.



Charles Bland Ratcliff (1822–1889): the Legacy of a Highly Published Failure

Rigor mortis and the epileptology of Charles Bland Radcliffe (1822–1889)

Charles Bland Radcliffe (1822–1889) was one of the physicians who made major contributions to the literature on epilepsy in the mid-19th century, when the modern understanding of the disorder was beginning to emerge, particularly in England. His experimental work was concerned with the electrical properties of frog muscle and nerve. Early in his career he related his experimental findings to the phenomenon of rigor mortis and concluded that, contrary to the general belief of the time, muscle contraction depended on the cessation of nerve input, and muscle relaxation on its presence. He adhered to this counter-intuitive interpretation throughout his life and, based on it, produced an epileptology that was very different from those of his contemporaries and successors. His interpretations were ultimately without any direct influence on the advance of knowledge.

…and if that isn’t enough:

Gordon Holmes, in his account of the history of Radcliffe’s hospital (and his own), the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases at Queen Square, London,1 saw fit to deliver the perhaps rather harsh judgment that Radcliffe had:

‘added little to its reputation or to medical knowledge’,


‘created no milestone in the progress of medicine, nor indeed added anything to nascent neurology.’

Nevertheless, Ratcliff had a string of letters and lectures published in The Lancet of his day.



Eadie MJ. Rigor mortis and the epileptology of Charles Bland Radcliffe (1822-1889). J Clin Neurosci. 2007 Mar;14(3):201-7.


At times, he appeared to cheerfully make assumptions that enabled him to complete gaps in his chain of evidence. He seemed incapable of seeing defects in some parts of his grand corpus of ideas, defects that would call into question the validity of their whole, and he failed to modify his intellectual position as the mounting tide of evidence ran contrary to his concepts. As a result, if his thought is now remembered at all, he is recalled as a man who got many things quite wrong and who produced lines of thought that, despite all that he wrote, for the greater part led nowhere.

When "Too Much Brain" Is Bad For You

Easily distracted people may have too much brain

Those who are easily distracted from the task in hand may have “too much brain”.

So says Ryota Kanai and his colleagues at University College London, who found larger than average volumes of grey matter in certain brain regions in those whose attention is readily diverted.

The “certain brain region” [singular] is the left superior parietal lobe (SPL). And why is a larger left SPL associated with greater distractibility?? How do you explain this bizarre finding?

Quite why SPL size works this way is unclear, but Kanai speculates that it may be linked to that fact that as we mature, the brain’s grey matter is pruned of neurons in order to work more efficiently.

He suggests that a greater volume of grey matter may indicate a less mature brain, perhaps reflecting a mild developmental malfunction. “This theory would fit in with the observation that children are more easily distracted than adults,” Kanai says.

Or, as it’s explained in the J Neurosci paper:

…A number of possible explanations can be offered from a developmental perspective.

During adolescence the synapses in human cortex undergo a pruning process (Huttenlocher and Dabholkar, 1997), which is supposedly linked with improved processing efficacy of pruned cortical regions. As the reduction of gray matter density due to the pruning process occurs between childhood and early adult life across broad areas of the cortex, including the left SPL, more mature brains tend to have smaller SPL (Gogtay et al., 2004). Considering cortical pruning as a process of maturation, it is conceivable that smaller volume (or gray matter density) of the left SPL leads to more efficient attentional control by this region.


From the group who brought you Political orientations are correlated with brain structure in young adults [but Colin Firth is not an author on this one].


Kanai R, Dong MY, Bahrami B, Rees G. Distractibility in daily life is reflected in the structure and function of human parietal cortex. J Neurosci. 2011 May 4;31(18):6620-6.

Sigmund Freud Reviews ‘Atlas of the Human Brain’ by Edward Flatau (1894)


Fig. 2. A sample plate (Probetafel) from Flatau’s Atlas of the Human Brain by Karger, Berlin, left, depicting the ventral cerebral facies (author’s archive). Flatau demonstrating his method for macroscopically photographing fresh human brains, right; from a technical article traced from a citation by Pollack (courtesy: Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg).


The Review by Freud

Dr. Flatau hereby offers physicians and students an atlas of the human brain, which depicts the various full views and some of the most important brain sections in eight plates (11 figures). These plates – from photographs of fresh brain – give an almost three-dimensional impression of the cerebral facies, in clear and characteristic sections, overall deserving to be designated as a superb teaching aid, suitable as a totally reliable reference for both self-study, in the case of not having access to fresh material, and for comparisons at autopsy and the like.

A leading ‘schematic plate’ in this atlas attempts to give an overview of our knowledge on the course of fiber pathways in the central nervous system in 13 multi-colored drawings, incorporating the known accounts of Mendel, Bekhterev and Edinger on this theme, and continuing with the opposing views of Golgi and Ramón [y Cajal] on the structure of the nervous tissue. The 27 text pages are devoted to the explanation of these schematic drawings. The price of the work (12 marks) is minimal if one considers its breadth and beauty. Author and publisher deserve the appreciation of the medical community for this valuable work.

Sigmund Freud

[Atlas of the Human Brain and the Course of Nerve Fibres. By Ed. Flatau. With a Foreword by Prof. E. Mendel. S. Karger Verlag, Berlin 1894. (Critical Reviews and Literary Notices.)]

 via @WeAreGeek


Triarhou LC. A review of Edward Flatau’s 1894 Atlas of the Human Brain by the neurologist Sigmund Freud. (2011). Eur Neurol. 65(1):10-5.


Neural Signatures of Inspirational Mentoring

Boyatzis and Anthony Jack, assistant professor of cognitive science, philosophy and psychology, have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show neural reactions based on different coaching styles. Their research builds on previous knowledge of Intentional Change Theory, which holds that positive and negative emotional attractors create psycho-physiological states that drive a person to think about change.