You’ve got a brain - but how much do you actually know about it?
For the first time in human history, it is now possible to learn a tremendous amount of information about your own brain. This is thanks to MRI brain imaging.
MRI is so amazing and safe you can even take a picture of a mother and her baby with it! (Image from Dr. Rebecca Saxe’s lab)
I fell in love with the power of MRI while was studying biology at UCLA. I had never imagined that a device could peer through my skull and take a high-resolution image of my brain while I took a 10-minute nap.
I dove into brain imaging research and spent a decade in labs in the US (UCLA/Stanford) and Europe (Rome/Toulouse). I used high-powered supercomputers to analyze beautiful brain images and uncover insights into how we age and how to positively impact our brains.
I loved research - but a few years ago, everything changed.
In the past, the brain was the domain of a community of scientists who generated only minor interest from the outside world. This changed as the US, the EU, China, Google, Facebook and Elon Musk all began to see the brain as a tremendous opportunity.
Now the brain has become the domain of competing nations and multinational corporations. The race to understand the brain has turned into a sprint. The US, Europe, and China have all poured billions into giant projects such as the Human Connectome Project (US), The Human Brain Project (EU), The China Brain Project.
This has created an environment of intense competition. The good news is that this has been great for the productivity of the field. The number of new scientific publications has erupted.
We are now collectively generating so much new knowledge about the brain that it has become overwhelming for any individual to keep up.
I’m in the field, I’m obsessed and even I can’t keep up with everything. In the past, it was much easier to keep up with all the advances and a single highly-trained individual was the best place to go for information.
However, there is now so much new knowledge and so much information embedded into a brain image that the field has had to figure out new ways to make sense of the abundance. To keep up there has been heavy advancement in software to enhance our understanding of brain images.
The professional brain community has been incredibly open about their work, so most brain analysis software is publically available. There is now a trove of free software that anyone can use to analyze brain imaging data. In fact, there is so much software that dedicated groups help keep track of it.
All this development has been fantastic for anyone with computer skills and time.
With computer science skills you can now take your brain image and automatically map your brain and identify your brain’s memory control center (the hippocampus) - you can then calculate the volume of your hippocampus and advance to tracking how your hippocampus is changing over time.
Amazingly, you can go further and calculate your BrainAge and even find out how much gray matter you have in your frontal lobe.
Lots of people are discovering that you can even 3D print your brain!
All this software can tell you a wealth of information about your brain - such as how it compares to others, whether it’s aging normally, whether it’s at high risk for memory issues, and even insights into your IQ and personality. And by integrating your imaging data with genetic and clinical information, the horizon expands even further.
But what if you can’t spend countless hours digging into everything that is out there? (Like I do)
That’s OK - that’s why we started BrainKey. We bring together the world’s experts and their greatest discoveries and connect them directly to you. In essence, we are demystifying the brain so that you can be empowered and as smart about your own brain health as the world’s leading experts.
BrainKey’s goal is to empower anyone to learn about their own brain. In order to do that, we created the BrainKey platform.
The front-facing part of the platform is the personal brain visualization dashboard.
If you’ve ever had an MRI - ( or even if you haven’t because it’s easy to get one) - you can immediately transform your MRI with artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) so you can view it in 3D.
The amazing technology that allows you to view your brain in 3D was developed by BrainKey's co-founder, Dr. Ben Kotopka. Ben's AI maps brain regions in a matter of minutes; after human experts review the results, your 3D brain is ready to display. BrainKey delivers accurate results faster than cutting-edge Stanford neuroscience research labs!
But hopefully, you will never notice all the work behind this and you simply enjoy it and dive even further into the wild world of brain science. We try to make your journey as easy as possible, and with a click, you can access a growing pool of apps from brain researchers, such as the BrainAge calculator, the executive function landmarker, and the memory region assessment.
You can even 3D print your brain! I printed my own brain and it’s amazing the reaction you get when you show people your own brain.
The world is large and complicated, but you are able to navigate the complexity because of your amazing brain. At BrainKey, we believe that the more you know about your incredible brain, the more opportunity you will have to thrive in an increasingly complex world. Our goal is to empower you with the latest brain science so you can thrive.
Owen Phillips, Ph.D.
BrainKey is driven by research. Therefore, we want our research and the data that drives it to be as open as possible. We are working towards making our underlying computational platform publically available, together with a curated OpenNeuro dataset. The goal of the research platform is to help drive reliable, robust and reproducible neuroscience.
We are also working to make available for research the de-identified data from our customers who explicitly choose that they want to contribute their de-identified brain data to research. The hope is that this pooled data will accelerate advancements.
Collaborating with researchers will open exciting new frontiers for us and for the research community - if you’d like to learn more or open a collaboration, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!