Does the brain look like a koosh ball? Indeed so, when seen via diffusion spectrum imaging, which “analyzes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data in new ways, letting scientists map the nerve fibers that carry information between cells.”
Neural fibers in the brain are too tiny to image directly, so scientists map them by measuring the diffusion of water molecules along their length. The scientists first break the MRI image into “voxels,” or three-dimensional pixels, and calculate the speed at which water is moving through each voxel in every direction. Those data are represented here as peanut-shaped blobs. From each shape, the researchers can infer the most likely path of the various nerve fibers (red and blue lines) passing through that spot.