, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 43–59 | Cite as

NeuroNames 2002

  • Douglas M. Bowden
  • Mark F. Dubach
Original Article


NeuroNames is a nomenclature designed as a tool for indexing digital databases of neuroscientific information.1 It can be used, for example, as the entry point to a digital dictionary of neuroanatomy, to a brain atlas, or to a database of information referenced to specific brain structures. The user can query with terms from many different nomenclatures. One can create a neuroanatomic ontology from NeuroNames by relating an appropriate subset of terms to a conceptual model represented by structures illustrated in a brain atlas. At the conceptual core of NeuroNames are primary structures, the elementary units of the brain in the spatial domain. Each primary structure is associated with a set of synonyms that represent the structure in the symbolic domain. One of the synonyms is designated the default name for use in verbal definitions of other structures. A unique abbreviation based on the default name is provided for labeling images.

Neuroscientists classify structures in different contexts reflecting different attributes of interest. Thus, the name of a given structure can appear in any number of hierarchical contexts. In NeuroNames all primary structures are now represented in at least two hierarchies. The first is a nine-level “Brain Hierarchy,” in which volumetric structures are grouped by proximity to form successively larger units that represent the brain at different levels of dissection. Secondly, primary structures are categorized in a three-level “spatial attribute hierarchy” used to colorcode them for visual display. Grouped structures in the nine-level volumetric hierarchy are designated superstructures, each of which has synonyms, a default term, and an abbreviation. All names of structures not in the hierarchy are designated ancillary terms and are defined in words using the default names of hierarchy structures. With NeuroNames as entry point, we have developed BrainInfo (, a webiste that allows searchers to proceed intuitively in a few steps to descriptions and images of specific structures. Currently NeuroNames resides in a Microsoft ACCESS database and includes some 12,200 terms in seven languages.

Index Entries

Bioinformatics neuroanatomy nomenclature brain atlas database management 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amaral, D. G., Price, J. L., Pitkanen, A., Carmichael, S. T. (1992) Anatomical organization of the primate amygdaloid complex. In: The Amygdala: Neurobiological Aspects of Emotion, Memory and Mental Dysfunction (Aggleton, J. P. ed.), Wiley-Liss, New York, pp. 1–66.Google Scholar
  2. Anthoney T. R. (1994) Neuroanatomy and the Neurologic Exam: A Thesaurus of Synonyms, Similar-Sounding Non-Synonyms, and Terms of Variable Meaning. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.Google Scholar
  3. Baev, A. A., Bozhko, O. V., Nikiforuk, N. M., Savvateeva, N. I., Churaiants, V.V., Shotemor, S. S. (2000) Magnitno-Resonansnaia Tomografiia Golovnogo Mozga: Normal’naia Anatomiia. Meditsina, Moskva.Google Scholar
  4. Bloom, F. E. (1990) Databases of brain information. In: Three-Dimensional Neuroimaging (Toga, A. W., ed.) Raven Press, New York, pp. 273–306.Google Scholar
  5. Bowden, D. M., Martin, R. F. (1995) NeuroNames brain hierarchy. NeuroImage 2:63–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowden, D. M., Martin, R. F. (1997) A digital rosetta stone for primate brain terminology. In: Handbook of Chemical Neuroanatomy, Vol. 13: The Primate Nervous System, Part 1. (Bloom, F. E., Bjorklund, A., and Hokfelt, T., eds.) Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  7. Carpenter, M. B., Sutin, J. (1983) Human Neuroanatomy. Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.Google Scholar
  8. Carpenter, M. B. (1994) Dr. Alejandro Kaufman (trans.). Editorial Medical Panamericana, Buenos Aires. In: Neuroanatomía Fundamentos, Edicion 4, Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.Google Scholar
  9. Carpenter, M. B. (1995) Fondamenti di Neuroanatomia. EdiSES-Napoli.Google Scholar
  10. Crosby, E. C., Humphrey, T., Lauer, E. W. (1962) Correlative Anatomy of the Nervous System. Macmillan, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Cunningham, D. J., Horsley, V. (1892) Surface Anatomy of the Cerebral Hemispheres. Academy House, Dublin, Ireland.Google Scholar
  12. Heimer, L. (1995) The Human Brain and Spinal Cord: Functional Neuroanatomy and Dissection Guide. Second Edition, Springer Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
  13. IANC: International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee (1983): Nomina Anatomica, Fifth Edition, Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.Google Scholar
  14. Jones, E. G. (1990) Correlation and revised nomenclature of ventral nuclei in the thalamus of human and monkey, In: Proceedings of the Xth Meeting of the World Society for Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery, Maebashi, Japan, October 1989, Stereotact Funct Neurosurg; 54+55: 1–20.Google Scholar
  15. Krieg, W. J. S. (1975) Interpretive Atlas of the Monkey’s Brain. Brain Books, Evanston, IL.Google Scholar
  16. Mai, J. K., Assheuer, J., Paxinos, G. (1997) Atlas of the Human Brain. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  17. Martin, R. F., Dubach, J., Bowden, D. M. (1990) NeuroNames: human/macaque neuroanatomical nomenclature. Fourteenth Annual Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care, IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos, CA. pp. 1018–1019.Google Scholar
  18. Martin, R. F., Bowden, D. M. (1996) A stereotaxic template atlas of the macaque brain for digital imaging and quantitative neuroanatomy. NeuroImage 4:119–150.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Martin, R. F., Bowden, D. M. (2000) Primate Brain Maps: Structure of the Macaque Brain, Amsterdam. Elsevier Science B.V.Google Scholar
  20. National Library of Medicine (1999) UMLS Knowledge Sources: Metathesaurus, Semantic Network, SPECIALIST Lexicon. 10th Edition, US Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
  21. Noback, C. R., Demarest, R. J. (1982) Anatomi Susunan Saraf Manusia, Prinsip-Prinsip Dasar Neurobiologi, Penerbit Buku Kedokteran EGC, Jakarta.Google Scholar
  22. Oertel, G. (1969) Zur Zyto- und Myeloarchitektonik des Rhombencephalon des Rhesusaffen (Macaca mulatta Zimmerman), J Hirnforsch 11:377–405.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Olszewski, J. (1952) The Thalamus of the Macaca Mulatta. An Atlas for Use with the Stereotaxic Instrument. S. Karger, Basel, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  24. Ono, M., Kubik, S., Abernathey, C. D. (1990) Atlas of the Cerebral Sulci. Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  25. Paxinos, G., Watson, C. (1986) The Rat Brain in Stereotaxic Coordinates, Second Edition. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  26. Paxinos, G. (Ed) (1990): The Human Nervous System. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.Google Scholar
  27. Riley, H. A. (1943)) An Atlas of the Basal Ganglia, Brain Stem and Spinal Cord (Based on Myelin-Stained Material). Williams and Wilkins Co., Baltimore, MD.Google Scholar
  28. Roberts, M. P., Hanaway, J., Morest, D. K. (1970) Atlas of the Human Brain in Section. Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  29. Sapin, M. R., Nikitiuk, D. B. (1998) Anatomiia Cheloveka, Vol. 3. Elista APP “Dzhangar,” Moskva.Google Scholar
  30. Sato, L., McClure, R. C., Rouse, R. L., Schatz, C. A., Greenes, R. A. (1993) Enhancing the Metathesaurus with clinically relevant concepts: anatomic representations. Proceedings of the 16th Annual Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care 16:388–391.Google Scholar
  31. Savel’ev, S. V. (1996) Stereoskopicheskii Atlas Mozga Cheloveka. AREA XVII, Moskva.Google Scholar
  32. Shantha, T. R., Manocha, S. L., Bourne, G. H. (1968) A Stereotaxic Atlas of the Java Monkey Brain (Macaca irus). Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD.Google Scholar
  33. Stephan, H. (1975) Allocortex. In: Handbuch der Mikroskopischen Anatomie des Menschen: Vol. 4, Part 9. (Bargmann, W., ed.) Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany, pp. 1–998.Google Scholar
  34. Swanson, L. W. (1992) Brain Maps: Structure of the Rat Brain, second edition. Elsevier, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  35. Szabo, J., Cowan, W. M. (1984) A stereotaxic atlas of the brain of the cynomolgus monkey (Macaca fascicularis). J Comp Neurol 222(2):265–300.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tuttle, M., Sheretz, D., Olson, N., Erlbaum, M, Sperzel, D., Fuller, L., Nelson, S. (1990) Using Meta-1—the first version of the UMLS Metathesaurus. Proceedings of the 14th Symposium on Computer Applications in Medical Care, 14:131–135.Google Scholar
  37. von Bonin, G., Bailey, P. (1947) The Neocortex of Macaca Mulatta. University of Illinois Press, Urbana, ILGoogle Scholar
  38. Walker, A. E. (1940) A cytoarchitectural study of the prefrontal area of the macaque monkey. J Comp Neurol 73:59–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Washington National Primate Research CenterUniversity of WashingtonSeattle

Personalised recommendations