The restless brain

Brain Connect. 2011;1(1):3-12. doi: 10.1089/brain.2011.0019.


The pressing need to better understand human brain organization is appreciated by all who have labored to explain the uniqueness of human behavior in health and disease. Early work on the cytoarchitectonics of the human brain by Brodmann and others accompanied by several centuries of lesion behavior work, although valuable, has left us far short of what we need. Fortunately, modern brain imaging techniques have, over the past 40 years, substantially changed the situation by permitting the safe appraisal of both anatomical and functional relationships within the living human brain. An unexpected feature of this work is the critical importance of ongoing, intrinsic activity, which accounts for the majority of brain's energy consumption and exhibits a surprising level of organization that emerges with dimensions of both space and time. In this essay, some of the unique features of intrinsic activity are reviewed, as it relates to our understanding of brain organization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Nerve Net / physiology*