Resolution is always a limitation when detailed analysis of the brain anatomy is needed. A partial solution for this problem is the use of Microscopic Diffusion Tensor Imaging.
Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is an MRI technique that displays the white matter tracts by using the diffusion of water as a technique. The applicability of this technique can be to build a detailed anatomical atlas of brain connectivity or the analysis of brain connectivity in pathological states. In my opinion, we would be able at some point to characterize some brain diseases by connectivity abnormalities, and DTI can be a test for those conditions. The problem I see is lack of resolution, and this can be overcome by the use of microscopy. On the other hand microscopic DTI uses in vitro specimens, so the microscopic test would be used for research applications and possible as a test used in autopsy. Microscopy increases resolution, but scanning time although long, it is being shortened by acquisition and processing techniques, such as- dynamic image acquisition and automated registration. Here is a good paper on this topic:
Jiang Yi, Microscopic diffusion tensor imaging of the mouse brain, NeuroImage, 50, 465-471.
Adolfo Cotter, MD