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Tools of the Trade: Neuroscience Links February 3, 2007

Posted by Johan in Behavioural Genetics, Neuroscience.

There is a host of free neuroscience resources online, but it can be surprisingly difficult to find them yourself. Here are a few I find useful:

  • Brain Voyager: Brain Tutor is a free program which lets you zoom around a brain in 3d. It will highlight lobes, gyrii, fissures. Good for getting a general idea of where things are, roughly. I wrote a brief guide to Brain Tutor, which may be helpful if you have a hard time getting started with the program.
  • When you have a specific area that you need to locate or learn more about, try the free version of Gray’s Anatomy over at Yahoo.
  • Sylvius is also a free anatomical dictionary, but more specific to neuroanatomy. Note that they’re offering their database in iPod format for a measly $10. Impress your friends!
  • Brainmaps offers a giant database of prepped brains in all flavours: humans and non-human animals. Nissl stains, cytochrome oxidase, you name it. It’s like Google Maps but with brains, and at least twice as addictive. Brainmaps also features connectivity maps and some downloadable programs, which go a little bit beyond Brain Tutor in content.
  • Finally, OMIM (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man) is a database which offers comprehensive records of genetic components in various diseases. This resource is not exactly one you play around with like Brainmaps, but OMIM can nevertheless be hugely helpful if you see a gene getting tossed around in an article. A quick check at OMIM lets you see if it is also implicated in other conditions. Likewise, you can (theoretically) plug in a condition and see if it has been linked to any genes. Before you budding behavioural geneticists out there get too excited, it’s worth noting that this database is largely focused on medicine, as that is also the general focus of genetic research in humans… So unless your topic of interest is abnormal psychology or psychiatry, this may be less helpful than it first seems.

If you know of any cool resources, feel free to share them in comments.


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