Evolution of Human Brain Atlases in Terms of Content, Applications, Functionality, and Availability

Wieslaw L. Nowinski
2020 Neuroinformatics  
Human brain atlases have been evolving tremendously, propelled recently by brain big projects, and driven by sophisticated imaging techniques, advanced brain mapping methods, vast data, analytical strategies, and powerful computing. We overview here this evolution in four categories: content, applications, functionality, and availability, in contrast to other works limited mostly to content. Four atlas generations are distinguished: early cortical maps, print stereotactic atlases, early digital
more » ... atlases, and advanced brain atlas platforms, and 5 avenues in electronic atlases spanning the last two generations. Content-wise, new electronic atlases are categorized into eight groups considering their scope, parcellation, modality, plurality, scale, ethnicity, abnormality, and a mixture of them. Atlas content developments in these groups are heading in 23 various directions. Application-wise, we overview atlases in neuroeducation, research, and clinics, including stereotactic and functional neurosurgery, neuroradiology, neurology, and stroke. Functionality-wise, tools and functionalities are addressed for atlas creation, navigation, individualization, enabling operations, and application-specific. Availability is discussed in media and platforms, ranging from mobile solutions to leading-edge supercomputers, with three accessibility levels. The major application-wise shift has been from research to clinical practice, particularly in stereotactic and functional neurosurgery, although clinical applications are still lagging behind the atlas content progress. Atlas functionality also has been relatively neglected until recently, as the management of brain data explosion requires powerful tools. We suggest that the future human brain atlas-related research and development activities shall be founded on and benefit from a standard framework containing the core virtual brain model cum the brain atlas platform general architecture.
doi:10.1007/s12021-020-09481-9 pmid:32728882 fatcat:gn2amcih45fqxbhgvlk7aljcgu