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brainSCANr: User comments and suggestions

Because very few people know about the blog yet, I'll be cross-posting from the brainSCANr blog here for a while.

Go check out the latest post: User comments and suggestions.

Also, please add the blog to your RSS reader.


What a couple of days! Tomorrow I'll do an update on actual usage statistics, but for now I wanted to thank the community and talk a bit about our immediate plans, as well as show you all what people have been saying about brainSCANr.

First, I'm going to be a bit of a broken record for a bit here.

We don't have a mailing list yet, so if you'd like to keep updated in the meantime, subscribe to our RSS feed or follow Brad on Twitter. Because this is a community effort, we wanted to share what people are saying about our site at the bottom of this post.

Bradley Voytek brainSCANr dopamine

Anyway, Jess and I would like to thank everyone for their great feedback, support, suggestions, etc. We've already gotten 40 comments via the site's commenting system. Your suggestions have been great!

Based on users' suggestions, we've now got a list of over 150 new terms we plan on adding to the database after the new year. Mind you, we're both doing this in our spare time, so we can't really devote as much time as we'd like to this project. Nevertheless, we're very dedicated to it.

You'll notice we've got a bit of a teaser above showing our new category for neurotransmitters/neurohormones/etc.

Ladies and gentlemen, the ever-popular: dopamine!

You can see some obvious players here including most of the basal ganglia. There are also strong ties to disease: Parkinson's disease, addiction, depression, and schizophrenia, or to reward, and also a method: PET. This is likely due to the heavy use of PET in studying dopamine binding (such as with raclopride), and other factors.

So stay tuned!

And as promised, here are some great comments from our users, Twitter, etc.

First, some of these are biased from friends of mine, but hey, we'll take the compliments we get :)

"pretty sure that @bradleyvoytek is going to be the next @HansRosling with the brain data visualization that" via @curtischambers

"This is very very cool. Well done! I am always very appreciative when visual perspectives of research are available. Plus this type of thing is fun to sift through. My only wish is that you could provide an option to hide certain categories, or items to help clean up the map a little. But man, this is really great!" via reddit
(Note: we'll be adding that feature soon!)

"This is fantastic! This technology is good for all disciplines, not just neuroscience."
(Note: I've also gotten a lot of these types of comments, and I'd love to expand to other fields.)

"So cool! Brain-data viz. tool for neurogeeks!" via @carlettej

"Congratulations for the work! and specially for the initiative of sharing."

"Your work is making promising connections."

"Many congratulations and thanks for providing such an invaluable source and for helping the neuroscience community to survive the information overload that threatens to engulf us all."

"I think this would be useful if it included neurohormones and names of genes. Another thing that would be really cool would be to have an interactive, manipulable brain "minimap" in the corner where regions can be selected by visually exploring the virtual brain itself, by zooming in and out, selecting particular species, etc. It would be cool to be able to toggle particular protein densities/expression zones as colored overlays."
(Note: such good ideas! We'll do what we can to make these happen!)


"This is great. Really good job. Only one concern, I did not find a legend indicating what the different colors refer to."
(Note: our bad! Legend coming soon...)

"Wow this is great!"

"Awesome site guys!"

"Hi Bradley, Jessica, I just came across your site via a link from a friend, just want to feedback and say I think the concept and the execution of your idea is great."

"Jessica and Brad, Congratulations. This is a really cool tool. A few quick comments of user experience - - there is no legend I could find for the meaning of colors and symbols in the map. I guess users will get it anyway, but still..... If you are really quick, type a term like 'memory' and hit search or enter, you may miss the drop down list that opens, and then you get the Sorry, "memory" was not found' message. It took me a couple of times to understand that I should wait for the list and pick a more specific term. Anyhow, the site is great and I love the clean and simple design."
(Note: we're working on speeding things up and making the searches more organic as well)

"Hi Brad... this is great!! It's a resource that soooo many brain people are looking for not only when they need quick descriptions but even to get a quick summary of prior research on some area, phenomenon or theory. Plus, it looks like you've made it easy enough to use and the design is clean and pretty. Also I love how you made all of your resources and work public. Anyway, I thought maybe you could include the Brodman areas in here - either as stand-alone entries, or maybe joined with their descriptive counterparts (i.e. Broca's = BA45 & BA46). Good look with all of this. Congratulations, it looks great (I mean it)."
(Note: Brodmann areas will be tough... but we're looking into what we can do.)

"Eeeeeeee - I love it :) I'm going to blog about it when I get my Christmas cards done!! Also, can I put in a request for some white matter tracts? I'm really happy to make a list for you or send you a link to a good atlas?? Thanks guys, and congratulations!!"
(Note: we've got the list of white matter tracts, and the next update will include them!)

"Of course I'm sure everyone has their favorite term they'd like to add, but..."
(Note: haha oh my yes...)

"Really cool concept for a tool"

"Here it is! My vote for the best brain site for 2010. Brain function, modules and connections that are all backed by Pubmed articles all at your finger tips. Click on the manuscript link and you will see a pdf of connections in the brain that if you zoom in enough (lots and lots of zooming) you will be amazed at the detail and be able to follow the various connections."

"wow. this is all types of awesome."

So thanks for the feedback everyone! Keep the suggestions (and compliments!) coming. Cheers and happy New Year.