Alternative MethodsConventional Methods


Humans Have Unique Brain 'Fingerprints,' Scientists Confirm
Mar 29, 2018

Tommy Strickland
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 2 min.

Our brains’ connections are so unique, they can be used to identify individuals.

People say “our brains are wired differently,” and now a team of scientists led by Carnegie Mellon researchers have proven that’s literally the case.

The group developed a way to “fingerprint” the human brain using diffusion MRI and found that its structural connections are so unique, they can be used to identify individuals. According to the team’s paper published in PLOS, they used the diffusion MRI results of 699 subjects’ brains. Diffusion MRI is called as such, because it uses the diffusion process of water molecules in biological tissues to generate contrast in images.

They then took those results and calculated the distribution of water in the point-by-point connections (called local connectome) of the brains’ white matter pathways. What they found was that each person has a unique local connectome, sort of like a fingerprint. Even twins’ local connectomes are only 12 percent similar to each other. To ensure that their conclusion is correct, they ran 17,000 identification tests and found that they could tell subjects from each other with nearly 100 percent accuracy.

That’s not all the team confirmed, though. They also found that a person’s life experiences, such as going through poverty or an illness, affects the brain structure. As such, researchers could use the method to understand how environments and experiences shape people’s brains. Whether it could eventually be used as a means of identification, who knows — for now, the researchers are focusing on its potential medical applications.

As Timothy Verstynen, one of the researchers from Carnegie Mellon, said:

“This confirms something that we’ve always assumed in neuroscience — that connectivity patterns in your brain are unique to you. This means that many of your life experiences are somehow reflected in the connectivity of your brain. Thus we can start to look at how shared experiences, for example poverty or people who have the same pathological disease, are reflected in your brain connections, opening the door for potential new medical biomarkers for certain health concerns.”

“This confirms something that we’ve always assumed in neuroscience — that connectivity patterns in your brain are unique to you. This means that many of your life experiences are somehow reflected in the connectivity of your brain. Thus we can start to look at how shared experiences, for example poverty or people who have the same pathological disease, are reflected in your brain connections, opening the door for potential new medical biomarkers for certain health concerns.”

Mariella Moon/Engadget


Leave your comments / questions for this practitioner

To write a comment please
or
Services
Category filter
Concern filter
Type filter
Sort
 

All categories

This category is currently empty though we are working on it. Please review services from the similar categories below.
Go to all Services

Related Articles

View All
3 min.
Neuropsychology
Mar 29 2018
How the Brain Draws a Map to a Destination

Columbia scientists have uncovered a key feature of the brain’s GPS that helps a mouse find what it is seeking. The study enabled scientists to define the precise duties of cells in a particular region of the hippocampus, the brain’s learning and memory c…

Phyllis Fields
10 min.
Neuropsychology
Feb 17 2021
4 things to do to become happier, according to neuroscientists

You get all kinds of happiness advice on the internet from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Don’t trust them.

Actually, don’t trust me either. Trust neuroscientists. They study that gray blob in your head all day and have learned a lot a…

Demi Powell
1 min.
Neuropsychology
Jun 13 2018
Watching Other People Move Helps Manage Parkinson's

New study by University of Manchester psychologists has shown that imitation of movement can help people with Parkinson’s.

Dr. Ellen Poliakoff and Dr. Judith Bek, whose paper appears in the print version of the Journal of Neuropsychology, are on the team…

Felipe Thomas
9 min.
Neuropsychology
Mar 18 2021
Our Future can be as Purposeless as the Past

The next great stage of our evolution has begun. But what will our successes look like – and will they be that different to us?

“In the 21st century,” Yuval Noah Harari writes, “the next big project of humankind will be to acquire for us the divine power…

Demi Powell