130| Fundamentals of Neuroanatomy – A Conversation With Dr. Hal Blumenfeld

In this episode, we discuss big picture conceptual issues related to functional neuroanatomy, with Dr. Hal Blumenfeld. Specific topics covered include the purpose of the neurological exam, the brain as a distributed network, Korbinian Brodmann’s areas, the hierarchical and topographic organization of the brain, horizontal cell layers of the cortex, lateralization, cortical columns, the corticospinal tract, and the frontal lobes.

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About Hal

Dr. Blumenfeld is the Loughridge-Williams Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Neurosurgery at Yale University. He is an expert on brain mechanisms of consciousness and altered consciousness in epilepsy. He directs the Yale Clinical Neuroscience Imaging Center (CNIC), is an active epilepsy neurologist, and leads multi-disciplinary research largely funded by NIH.  In addition to authoring numerous peer-reviewed articles he also wrote a widely acclaimed textbook, “Neuroanatomy through Clinical Cases,” used in over half the medical schools in the United States.


Hickok, G. (2009). The functional neuroanatomy of language. Physics of life reviews, 6(3), 121-143.

Janacsek, K., Evans, T. M., Kiss, M., Shah, L., Blumenfeld, H., & Ullman, M. T. (2022). Subcortical Cognition: The fruit below the rind. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 45(1), 361–386. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-neuro-110920-013544

Kinsbourne, M. (2013). Somatic twist: A model for the evolution of decussation. Neuropsychology, 27(5), 511. 

Kronemer, S. I., Aksen, M., Ding, J. Z., Ryu, J. H., Xin, Q., Ding, Z., Prince, J. S., Kwon, H., Khalaf, A., Forman, S., Jin, D. S., Wang, K., Chen, K., Hu, C., Agarwal, A., Saberski, E., Wafa, S. M., Morgan, O. P., Wu, J., … Blumenfeld, H. (2022). Human visual consciousness involves large scale cortical and subcortical networks independent of Task Report and eye movement activity. Nature Communications, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-35117-4

Martin, R. A., Cukiert, A., & Blumenfeld, H. (2021). Short‐term changes in cortical physiological arousal measured by electroencephalography during thalamic centromedian deep brain stimulation. Epilepsia, 62(11), 2604–2614. https://doi.org/10.1111/epi.17042

McCafferty, C., Gruenbaum, B. F., Tung, R., Li, J.-J., Zheng, X., Salvino, P., Vincent, P., Kratochvil, Z., Ryu, J. H., Khalaf, A., Swift, K., Akbari, R., Islam, W., Antwi, P., Johnson, E. A., Vitkovskiy, P., Sampognaro, J., Freedman, I. G., Kundishora, A., … Blumenfeld, H. (2023). Decreased but diverse activity of cortical and thalamic neurons in consciousness-impairing rodent absence seizures. Nature Communications, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-35535-4

Rosenbloom, M. H., Schmahmann, J. D., & Price, B. H. (2012). The functional neuroanatomy of decision-making. The Journal of neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences, 24(3), 266-277.

Takakusaki, K. (2017). Functional neuroanatomy for posture and gait control. Journal of movement disorders, 10(1), 1-17.