A new digital reconstruction method pioneered at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, Washington, has revealed three neurons that branch extensively throughout the mouse brain, including one that wraps around its entire outer layer like a “crown of thorns”.  The three neurons were traced from a small, thin sheet of cells called the claustrum – an area now being posited as the seat of consciousness in mice and humans.

Brain scans have shown that the human claustrum is one of the most densely connected areas of the brain, but those images do not show the path of individual neurons.  Excitement in the greater scientific community indicates this finding may be an important step in understanding the connectome.