Tel Aviv University Spearheads New Brain Project

The CONNECT project from TAU includes MRI’s from 120 healthy brains


In a groundbreaking research experiment that could pay tremendous dividends down the road, the neurology department of Tel Aviv University (TAU) has used an MRI to scan the healthy brains of 120 Israelis and Europeans aged between 25 and 35.

TAU hopes to develop the world’s first atlas of the human brain

The purpose of using the Magnetic Resonance Instrument (MRI) on the subjects is reportedly to compile enough information to comprise the world’s first “atlas” of the makeup of the brain’s white matter.

Spearheaded by TAU’s Professor Yaniv Assaf, the new initiative, known as the CONNECT project, could be an important step in recognizing neurological and psychiatric diseases early enough so that treatment could help those victimized.

“Healthy people at age 30 could already have a brain microstructure with less plasticity and thus be at risk for disease decades later,” explained Professor Assaf. “They could take medications early to prevent deterioration. But that is still far away.”

Our brains’ gray matter is involved mostly in cognition and processing while white matter plays a significant role in how the brain learns and helps different brain regions communicate.

According to the European Union consortium of 12 research groups involved in the project, the three-year CONNECT project’s results could have the potential to change neuroscience and medicine over the coming decade. Its final findings will be shared at a meeting of the researchers in Paris.

Until now, the only “brain atlas” written was based on the findings of only a few people who died and donated their bodies to science.

Assaf noted that the results will “provide new depth and accuracy in our understanding of the human brain in health and disease,” and may be used down the road to understand various neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, ALS, or schizophrenia, and develop better procedures to treat them.


View original Shalom Life publication at: