Amazingly Detailed Images Reveal a Single Cubic Millimeter of Human Brain in 3D

Abstract from Science Paper

The connectome of a sample of the human brain is generally considered to be too complex to map completely. The current paper describes the reconstruction of a cubic millimeter of human cortex containing ~57,000 cells and ~150 million synapses. It reveals previously undetected cellular and synaptic detail, and portrays a vastly more complex network of blood vessels than was previously realized. The data and reconstructions are freely available at

Abstract from Science Press Release

Using electron microscopy, researchers generated more than 1.4 petabytes of data on a sample of human brain, containing not only neurons, but also the synapses, blood vessels, and other features. They then reconstructed the sample in 3D, at a scale previously impossible, allowing for the analysis of around 57,000 cells and 150 million synapses in stunning detail. Among the discoveries in this sample was the fact that non-neuronal cells outnumbered neurons 2:1, and that a few axons were arranged in unusual, extensive whorls. This new work will allow researchers to better understand the brain and its malfunctions, and will aid in the development of new treatments for injury and disease.

Read more