An atlas of the brain allows us to define its spatial characteristics. Where is a given structure; relative to what other features; what are its shape and characteristics and how do we refer to it? Where is this region of functional activation? How different is this brain compared with a normal database? An atlas allows us to answer these and related questions quantitatively.
Brain atlases are built from one or more representations of brain. They describe one or more aspects of brain structure and/or function and their relationships after applying appropriate registration and warping strategies, indexing schemes and nomenclature systems. Atlases made from multiple modalities and individuals provide the capability to describe image data with statistical and visual power.
An atlas can take on many forms, from descriptions of structure or function of the whole brain to maps of groups or populations. Individual systems of the brain can be mapped as can changes over time, as in development or degeneration. An atlas enables comparison across individuals, modalities or states. Differences between species can be catalogued. But in most cases, the value added by brain atlases is the unique and critical ability to integrate information from multiple sources. The utility of an atlas is dependent upon appropriate coordinate systems, registration and deformation methods along with useful visualization strategies. Accurate and representative atlases of brain hold the most promise for helping to create a comprehensive understanding of brain in health and disease.
Disclaimer: All Brain atlases available from this site are distributed in good faith and to the best of our knowledge accurately represent brain structure, function and physiology. However, everyone downloading and using any of these atlases agrees to use them under the usage terms and acknowledges that the use of these atlases is at their own risk. Always check the accuracy of any results you obtain using these atlases. The atlases are NOT FDA Approved for clinical/health applications.