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Understanding brain function in terms of connectional architecture is a major goal of neuroimaging. However, direct investigation of the influence of brain circuitry on function has been hindered by the lack of a technique for exploring anatomical connectivity in the in vivo brain. Recent advances in magnetic resonance diffusion imaging have given scientists access to data relating to local white matter architecture and, for the first time, have raised the possibility of in vivo investigations into brain circuitry. This review investigates whether diffusion imaging may be used to identify regions of grey matter that are distinct in their connectional architecture, and whether these connectional differences are reflected either in local cytoarchitecture or in local grey matter function. Establishing a direct relationship between regional boundaries based on diffusion imaging and borders between regions that perform different functions would not only be of great significance when interpreting functional results, but would also provide a first step towards the validation of diffusion-based anatomical connectivity studies.

Original publication




Journal article


Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci

Publication Date





903 - 911


Brain, Brain Mapping, Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Models, Neurological