Context: An Indian brain template for five distinct age groups as well as a brain atlas to help accurate assessment of psychiatric illnesses and conduct neuro-surgical operations have been developed by neuroscientists at the Bengaluru-based National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS).
- The neuroscientists studied over 500 brain scans of Indian patients to develop five sets of templates and a brain atlas for five age groups covering late childhood to late adulthood (six to 60 years).
- The significance of this study is that neuroscientists need not be dependent upon the current universal standard of using the Montreal Neurological Index (MNI) template.
- The MNI was developed by averaging Caucasian brains. Over a period of time, neuroscientists discovered that Caucasian brains are different from Asian brains.
- Scientists from across the world have been pointing out that there are significant variations in the location of key brain regions and the density of neurons in various brain areas between racial types.
- Drawing from this, several countries, including China, South Korea and Canada, have brain templates of their population.
- The project is funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Newton Grant from the Medical Research Council (MRC), UK.
What is a Brain Template?
- Database of brain images from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), when compiled together, results in the so-called Brain Template (BT).