--> Visual Brain Application
Producer: David Kelleher
Description: The Visual Brain Application project
will provide a visualization of brain disorders, neuroanatomy, and
neurotransmitters. As a free and open-access application, the project will
incorporate advanced Flash technologies with a summary of each neurological or
mental health disorder, neurotransmitter, and neuropeptides involved. The
project will use advanced MEDLINE and PubMed database integration for full
search capabilities, including options for Clinical Search Queries (therapy,
diagnosis, etiology, and prognosis articles) and Systematic Reviews essential
for locating clinically sound studies and systematic reviews, meta-analyses,
reviews of clinical trials, evidence-based medicine, consensus development
conferences, and guidelines, respectfully. Summary information for brain
disorders and affected brain regions and neurotransmitters will provide copious
links to the NCBI Entrez System, including Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man,
a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders
Audience: students, professionals, and educators who are studying,
practicing, or teaching basic sciences (neuroscience, neurobiology,
biochemistry), medical sciences (psychiatry, neurology, nursing), and/or
psychology (neuro, clinical, abnormal, health).
This project will provide a visualization of brain disorder knowledge with
links to relevant research articles.
For the researchers:
- Create a web form that scientists can use to enter details about brain
- Use graphics and animation to show changes in the brain that occur with
- Provide a space to summarize and link to current research.
For the developers:
- Create documents and files that can be used for articles, books, or
courses on application development
- Develop graphics, animation, and code that can be reused in commercial
- Produce a portfolio piece that can be submitted to design contests and
shown to prospective clients
2. Project Overview
For the neuroscience web site home page, there will be a small Flash
animation of just the brain portion of this project. It will explain and link to
the full project. This 'splash' animation can be embedded in a small box on the
home page. Since the full project will require enough screen space to fill an
entire browser window, that should be a separate Flash movie linked from the
The neuroscience project will include a brain disorder dropdown menu,
illustrations of the brain and neurons, and a summary box where scientists can
enter research details. Visualizations of changes in the brain that occur for
each disorder will also be shown.
The admin area for the scientists will have a brain disorder form where
scientists can add and delete disorders, and a detail form including fields for
brain part size, activity level, neurotransmitters, summary, and links.
3. Project Details
The project window will include the following components
- Project title, which incorporates the Neuroscience Initiative logo
- Brain disorder drop down selection menu, including a 'normal' option and
- Illustration of the brain where the size and activity level of each part
can be changed
- Comment area, where clicking the parts of the brain prints size and
activity level changes
- Illustration of presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons, to show normal
activity and when they fail
- Comment area, listing the neurotransmitter that is suspected for the
selected disorder / brain part
- Summary box, including research and web links for the selected disorder
and selected brain part
The brain disorders, and details for each disorder, will be stored in a
database on the neuroscience website.
The disorder drop down menu will retrieve the available disorders from the
database. When a disorder is selected, the illustration of the brain,
illustration of neurons, comments, and summary box will be updated.
The illustration of the brain will include the following parts:
- Frontal Lobe
- Parietal Lobe
- Occipital Lobes
- Temporal Lobes
- Brain Stem
A second illustration can show the parts of the limbic system:
The illustration of the brain will also include a trace outline of a normal
sized brain. When a disorder is selected, parts of the brain can increase and
decrease in size according to the information entered into the database. The
trace outline of a normal brain will remain so the difference can be seen
visually. The comment area next to the brain will state which parts changed size
and by how much.
The activity level of each brain part will also be shown. This could be
visualized using colors, patterns of dots, or motion. A test will be completed
during the design phase to identify which technique would be most successful for
showing the activity level of the brain. The comment area will state how the
activity level changed for the selected disorder.
Each part of the brain will be clickable. When a disorder is first selected,
the summary box will show general information about the disorder. When a part of
the brain is selected, the summary box will change to show information specific
to that part of the brain. A button next to the brain illustration will allow
users to switch back to the general information. Clicking on a brain part will
also change the comment areas that expain how the size, activity level, and
neurotransmitters are changed in that part of the brain.
The illustration of presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons will show dots
moving from one to the other.
The number of dots and percentage that successfully make it to the
postsynaptic neuron can be controlled. The comment area will state which
neurotransmitters are involved what goes wrong for each part of the brain.
The list of neurotransmitters available in the database will be:
- glutamic acid
- aspartic acid
The administration section of the web will include these forms:
There will be a web page to add and disable brain disorders
There will be a detail page for each disorder, including the following
- Overview of research for the disorder
- Links to research
- There will also be subforms on the disorder page for each part of the
brain, including the following:
- Overview of research for the disorder, specific to a part of the brain
- Links to research, specific to a part of the brain
- Brain part size increase or decrease (specify percentage)
- Activity level increase or decrease (specify percentage)
- The name of the neurotransmitter involved in the disorder at the selected
part of the brain
- The amount of the neurotransmitter (specify percentage increase or
- The failure rate of the neurotransmitter (specify percentage that fail)
A web form could also be created to let researchers add other
The logo and style of the existing neuroscience initiative will be used as a
guide for developing the interface and graphics in this project.
The illustrations will be created in a scalable vector format, so the project
could be deployed for different screen sizes, on the web, and as a standalone
application or CD-ROM.
The web version could be a 600x400 pixel box, in a popup window or embedded
on a web page.
The server portion of this project will be written in PHP and connect to a
The project will be developed in Flash MX 2004 and one of the remoting
techniques will be used to connect to the database.
6. Production Schedule
After the proposal is revised and accepted, work will begin on a design
document. Development will first start on the scripts and database, and a Flash
prototype will be created to test the visualization techniques.
The final stage will be to complete the graphics and scripts for the project
using Flash MX 2004.
07/09/04 Two new mockups
Feedback: There should also be a section on this application that lists articles from
the PubMed server (http://www.pubmed.com).
For instance, if one searches for "Parkinson's disease" and "Frontal lobes"
both of these phrases will be searched on PubMed and the listing automatically
places in this field/cell. Then, there should also be a field and search box
for general searches that will reveal entries from PubMed.
We foresee this neuroscience application to me used in undergraduate,
graduate, and post-graduate medical sciences (psychiatry, neurology, nursing),
basic sciences (neuroscience, neurobiology, molecular psychiatry), and
clinical psychology instruction.
08/22/04 Flash MX designed; new screenshots
Increase the ratio of
the "Summary of Research" box relative to the "List of Articles".
Add a text box on top
of "Search for Articles" button, that allows the user to enter (and
manipulate) search strings.
Add Clinical Search
Queries intended for clinicians, such as Systematic Reviews, Therapy,
Diagnosis, Etiology, and Prognosis (Based on
Haynes RB, et. al.).
- Integrate or link database from the NCBI (National Center for
Biotechnology Information) called
OMIM (Online Mendelian Inheritance of Man").
Added Clinical Search Queries and Systematic Reviews support