NIH Blueprint: The Human Connectome Project

News and Updates

Project News | April 23, 2014

Important preparations for the upcoming 500 Subjects data release

We are pleased to announce that the HCP is preparing to release data on 500 Subjects in mid/late May 2014. Before the release, we wanted to make you aware of some important considerations:

  • All 500 Subjects MRI data are being processed with an updated version of the HCP pipelines (v3.1) incorporating several improvements, including a new surface-based alignment method that improves cross-subject registration (Robinson et al., in revision, see Robinson et al. 2013 for a preview)
  • 500 Subjects data will include MRI and behavioral data for subjects previously released in Q1-Q3, and in the MEG1 release, plus additional subjects collected in Q4-Q6

When the 500 Subjects data are released:

  • MRI data for all subjects in ConnectomeDB will reflect the switch to v3.1 processing
  • new orders of Connectome in a Box will include v3.1 processed MRI data

Due to the processing changes, we recommend that previously released Q1-Q3 MR data not be mixed in analyses with the 500 Subjects MR data (processed with the new v3.1 pipelines). Remember to be sure to keep track of version numbers when analyzing HCP data.

If you will need any of the Q1-Q3 v2.0 processed data that is currently available for download from ConnectomeDB, we suggest you download it before May 15, 2014.

All users of HCP behavioral data:

The HCP uses a behavioral battery which includes several measurements developed by the NIH Toolbox. Due to changes in how the NIH Toolbox calculates some of its scoring, scores for previously released Q1-Q3 HCP subjects will be updated accordingly as part of the upcoming HCP 500 Subjects release set for mid/late May 2014.

Specifically,  the measures that will have updated scoring are:

  • Oral Reading Recognition Test
  • Pattern Comparison Processing Speed Test
  • Picture Vocabulary Test
  • Motor 4-Meter Walk Gait Speed Test

Most of the changes modestly affect the normative scaled scoring for all subjects. Details on the changes to the scoring can be found here: NIH Toolbox Measure Updates

If you are currently using data from these measures in an analysis of Q1-Q3 subjects, be aware that the subject scoring for these measures in ConnectomeDB will be updated to reflect the changes. If you need the older version scoring data currently available from ConnectomeDB, make sure to download it before May 15, 2014.

Please let us know if you have any questions ( Join the hcp-users list here.

We hope you are looking forward to the release!


The WU-Minn HCP Consortium

Project News | March 4, 2014

HCP Releases Initial MEG Dataset

The Human Connectome Project (HCP) WU-Minn consortium is pleased to announce our initial release of magnetoencephalography (MEG) data.

An example activation pattern from an MEG cortical sheet

An example activation pattern from an MEG cortical sheet

What’s in the HCP MEG Initial (MEG1) data release? The MEG1 data include 10 complete, high quality datasets from 14 healthy adults collected at rest (rMEG) and during 3 tasks (tMEG) that measure sensory, motor, and cognitive task performance.  For 3 subjects in this MEG release, data has already been released for the other modalities in the HCP protocol (T1w and T2w MRI, rfMRI, tfMRI, dMRI, and behavioral measures). MRI and behavioral measures for the remaining 11 subjects will be released as part of the upcoming HCP 500 Subjects Release scheduled for late spring 2014.

The MEG1 release includes:

  • raw, unprocessed MEG data in 4D Neuroimaging format
  • co-registration information (in the form of transformation matrices) that allow coordinate transformations between individual subject MEG coordinate systems and the MNI coordinate system
  • volume conduction model of the head (in MATLAB format)
  • regular 3-D source models (in MATLAB format)
  • E-Prime log files (tab-delimited and as Excel spreadsheets)
  • lists of bad channels and bad segments
  • sets of independent components (each comprising the time course and the sensor map) together with the related classification output
  • cleaned channel-level processed data aligned to stimulus and response onsets (for the task data) or segmented in short pieces (2 sec epochs for the resting state data)
  • averaged event-related fields and time-frequency estimates of power (for the task data)
  • averaged power spectra (for the resting state data)

Download MEG analysis software. Also available for download and use are pipeline scripts specifically written for analyzing HCP MEG data, collectively called “megconnectome software version 1.0”, and the FieldTrip MATLAB toolbox for MEG and EEG analysis. See for more information and to download the software.

Access MEG1 data on the HCP website. Learn about and download the HCP MEG1 dataset (~300GB of data!) via the ConnectomeDB database. Most HCP image and behavioral data is openly accessible to investigators worldwide who register and accept a limited set of Open Access Data Use Terms.

Want more information?  Check out the HCP MEG1 Data Release Reference Manual for a comprehensive guide that includes details on scanning protocols, processing pipelines, and information that will help users obtain and analyze the Q3 data.

If you are actively using HCP data and tools, we encourage you to join and be active in the hcp-users discussion group, so that you can tune in to technical discussions on issues that may be of interest.

Thanks again for your interest in the HCP.  Please send us your questions and comments anytime to

Posted by Jenn Elam @ 10:05 am

Project News,Recommended Reading | January 6, 2014

NY Times articles provide an “inside-the-scanner” look at HCP

The largest scale effort is the Human Connectome Project, involving a consortium of institutions here and abroad

A 3D rendering of reporter Jim Gorman’s brain constructed from his HCP structural MRI scans

Although many start their careers as scientists, it’s rare that a science reporter actually gets to participate in a scientific project. Last summer, New York Times reporter Jim Gorman got that chance, and wrote about it in two articles published today in the New York Times.

The Human Connectome Project hosted Gorman and his videographer at Washington University in St. Louis to get first hand experience with what it feels like to be a participant in the project and shoot a video about the experience.

In the article “The Brain, in Exquisite Detail”, the reporter profiles the project through conversations with HCP investigator Deanna Barch, director of the team that guides participants through the battery of in-scanner and out-of-scanner tests used for HCP. In the video, Dr. Barch explains:

What we’re doing in this project is pretty different in a couple [of] ways. We have really state-of-the-art techniques and equipment that are going to let us do this in a much finer-grained way than has ever been done before.

We’re going to be studying approximately 1,200 individuals across a wide range of things like education levels, and income levels, people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, so we can have a much better sense of the kind of “true normal” range of brain connections …

Some of it is just basic science, trying to understand how the brain works and how the brain contributes to how we behave, but a lot of it has clinical application.

In “A Search for Self in a Brain Scan”, Gorman offers a more personal, and philosophical angle on what it is like to be scanned and, ultimately, to be able to look at images of your own brain.

Gorman was treated to several hours of MRI scanning, physical, behavioral, and cognitive tests, just as if he were one of the 1,200 participants being scanned for the HCP. Between scans, he talked with HCP investigators and research assistants about what he was experiencing, what can be learned from the data we’re collecting, and the significant effort required to process the data and make it available to the public.

A few examples of detailed brain visualizations afforded from the high resolution of the HCP MRI scans are featured, along with Jim Gorman’s journey through the scanner, in the article’s video:

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Posted by Jenn Elam @ 9:20 am
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