Our daily lives consist of a web of cognitive tasks including the functions of sensing and behavior depending on the circumstances. There are fundamental parts of cognitive function such as recognition, attention, and memory; High-level cognitive functions such as language, thought, feeling, and judgment, however, help give human beings an intelligent edge over other animals. While there have been breakthroughs unlocking the secrets of brain function for the past years, we still have a long way to go in terms of the understanding of human brain on the bases of anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. A major impediment to the challenge might be that it is quite daunting to overcome some technological limits because the subject of research is not a guinea pig, but the very human being.
Thanks to recent technological advances, however, ground-breaking imaging tools for brain mapping have been developed and put into practical use. That means that brain mapping can be obtained both through EEG or MEG measuring the electrical or magnetic signals from the brain and through SPECT, PET, fMRI measuring the metabolic or hemodynamic activities of the brain. In addition, physio- and biochemical-mapping can be realized owing to such new imaging tools as MRS, DTI, OCT, and TMS. Now it is expected that more research will be needed to enhance the understanding of normal brain functions building on the above cutting-edge technologies, and promote the availability in the diagnosis and treatment of numerous brain diseases. Besides, engineering research will also be needed to better analyze the brain mapping data and to develop a tool with more accuracy and precision.
Today brain mapping and its associated technologies are being actively sought in America and Europe. In the Organization for Human Brain Mapping, an international brain mapping society, for example, there are many researchers from across the globe devoting themselves in publication and information sharing with one another. In case of South Korea, however, it is unfortunate that there is no appropriate rallying stage to do the same functions although there are many local researchers with keen interests in brain mapping across diverse schools and institutions. In fact, only micro-scale research is being conducted and macro-scale research such as brain mapping is being left out in the cold.
Against this backdrop, we are intended to found the Korean Society for Human Brain Mapping (KHBM) by brining together local researchers studying brain mapping. In a sense, the foundation of the KHBM should mean more than just providing an academic arena for researchers in brain mapping. Its mission may well include building up Koreans characteristic brain mapping data on our own, considering the fact that racial or cultural factors may make some difference in brain mapping. We sincerely hope that the KHBM would take hold to become a solid foundation for those who leading cutting-edge medical technologies across the nation in a new millennium.