The study will provide a crucial guide to Indian neuro-scientists and surgeons, who have so far based their knowledge of intricate brain anatomy on white European models.
New Delhi (Sputnik): In a first of its kind experiment by Indian scientists, the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) has started working on the ‘Indian Brain Template’ which seeks to draw comparisons between the brains of people residing in India with those residing in other parts of the world.
The research, to be conducted in multiple phases, will collect data from all over the country and the template will be constructed from a composite of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans.
“There was not much focus on the Indian brain to date. This center is vigorously pursuing research to understand the Indian brain in a healthy condition and also in a clinical condition. If we do not know the Indian brain- how the structure looks or the chemical distribution, then we will not able to know many things and also we will not able to compare our brains with Americans brain or Japanese brains,” Professor Prabhat Mandal, neuroscientist and project leader told Sputnik.
Professor Mandal along with Professor Deepika Shukla has already started data collection through MRI in the fully in-house project, which will go on for next three to four months.
The Indian scientists will collect data from over 150 people, comprising at least one person from every state and union territory. Other countries like China and Canada with much larger databases have already made such an attempt and prepared brain templates.
“The research will be extended to Alzheimer’s patients also. The template will give us overall uses of the human brain. It is a long-term project, like brain connection patterns, i.e. functional connection,” Mandal added.
For Alzheimer’s disease, what the scientists will be looking out for is the quantity of a molecule called glutathione, an antioxidant known to help repair cell damage.
The scientists have made a pipeline to calculate this template using the in-house system and also developed a program called Brahma. “This is a totally in-house project. Scientists of inter-disciplinary approaches are joining us and expect fantastic work from this unique collaboration” Mandal added.
The Narendra Modi-led government has also announced that any Indian who wants to participate in this project can join the scientists at The Gurgaon MRI Center.