Brain is not fully mature until 30s and 40s
(PhysOrg.com) -- New research from the UK shows the brain continues to develop after childhood and puberty, and is not fully developed until people are well into their 30s and 40s. The findings contradict current theories that the brain matures much earlier. Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a neuroscientist with the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, said until around a decade ago many scientists had "pretty much assumed that the human brain stopped developing in early childhood," but recent research has found that many regions of the brain continue to develop for a long time afterwards. The prefrontal cortex is the region at the front of the brain just behind the forehead, and is an area of the brain that undergoes the longest period of development. Prof. Blakemore said brain scans show the prefrontal cortex continues to change shape as people reach their 30s and up to their late 40s. Explore further: Study: Our brains compensate for aging
The Human Connectome Project
The Human Connectome Project Human Connectome The NIH Human Connectome Project is an ambitious effort to map the neural pathways that underlie human brain function. Altogether, the Human Connectome Project will lead to major advances in our understanding of what makes us uniquely human and will set the stage for future studies of abnormal brain circuits in many neurological and psychiatric disorders. Consortia The Blueprint has funded two major cooperative agreements that will take complementary approaches to deciphering the brain's complex wiring diagram. Use the box at the right to search the consortium sites or browse the sites directly using the links below. Latest Updates The Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California at Los Angeles consortium has built a next-generation 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner that improves the quality and spatial resolution with which brain connectivity data can be acquired. Washington University in St.
Human Connectome Project
The Human Connectome Project (HCP) is a five-year project sponsored by sixteen components of the National Institutes of Health, split between two consortia of research institutions. The project was launched in July 2009 as the first of three Grand Challenges of the NIH's Blueprint for Neuroscience Research. On September 15, 2010, the NIH announced that it would award two grants: $30 million over five years to a consortium led by Washington University in Saint Louis and the University of Minnesota, and $8.5 million over three years to a consortium led by Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California Los Angeles. The goal of the Human Connectome Project is to build a "network map" that will shed light on the anatomical and functional connectivity within the healthy human brain, as well as to produce a body of data that will facilitate research into brain disorders such as dyslexia, autism, Alzheimer's disease, and schizophrenia.
The Connectome — Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Lead investigators Hanspeter Pfister (SEAS ), Jeff Lichtman (FAS/Molecular & Cellular Biology, Center for Brain Science) and Clay Reid (HMS/Neurobiology, Center for Brain Science) Description The overall goal of the Connectome project is to map, store, analyze and visualize the actual neural circuitry of the peripheral and central nervous systems in experimental organisms, based on a very large number of images from high-resolution microscopy.
First map of the human brain reveals a simple, grid-like structure between neurons
In an astonishing new study, scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have imaged human and monkey brains and found… well, the image above says it all. It turns out that the pathways in your brain — the connections between neurons — are almost perfectly grid-like. It’s rather weird: If you’ve ever seen a computer ribbon cable — a flat, 2D ribbon of wires stuck together, such as an IDE hard drive cable — the brain is basically just a huge collection of these ribbons, traveling parallel or perpendicular to each other. There are almost zero diagonals, nor single neurons that stray from the neuronal highways. This new imagery comes from a souped-up MRI scanner that uses diffusion spectrum imaging to detect the movement of water molecules within axons (the long connections made by neurons). “Before, we had just driving directions. Curiously, it seems like this network of highways and byways is laid out when we’re still an early fetus. Read more at NIH
How The Brain Rewires Itself
It was a fairly modest experiment, as these things go, with volunteers trooping into the lab at Harvard Medical School to learn and practice a little five-finger piano exercise. Neuroscientist Alvaro Pascual-Leone instructed the members of one group to play as fluidly as they could, trying to keep to the metronome's 60 beats per minute. Every day for five days, the volunteers practiced for two hours. Then they took a test. At the end of each day's practice session, they sat beneath a coil of wire that sent a brief magnetic pulse into the motor cortex of their brain, located in a strip running from the crown of the head toward each ear. The finding was in line with a growing number of discoveries at the time showing that greater use of a particular muscle causes the brain to devote more cortical real estate to it. "Mental practice resulted in a similar reorganization" of the brain, Pascual-Leone later wrote.
Contrary to conventional thought as expressed in this diagram, brain functions are not confined to certain fixed locations. Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, is an umbrella term that encompasses both synaptic plasticity and non-synaptic plasticity—it refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses which are due to changes in behavior, environment and neural processes, as well as changes resulting from bodily injury. Neuroplasticity has replaced the formerly-held position that the brain is a physiologically static organ, and explores how - and in which ways - the brain changes throughout life. Neuroplasticity occurs on a variety of levels, ranging from cellular changes due to learning, to large-scale changes involved in cortical remapping in response to injury. The role of neuroplasticity is widely recognized in healthy development, learning, memory, and recovery from brain damage. Neurobiology Cortical maps Applications and example Vision
Right Brain, Left Brain? Scientists Debunk Popular Theory
Maybe you're "right-brained": creative, artistic, an open-minded thinker who perceives things in subjective terms. Or perhaps you're more of a "left-brained" person, where you're analytical, good at tasks that require attention to detail, and more logically minded. It turns out, though, that this idea of "brained-ness" might be more of a figure of speech than anything, as researchers have found that these personality traits may not have anything to do with which side of the brain you use more. Researchers from the University of Utah found with brain imaging that people don't use the right sides of their brains any more than the left sides of their brains, or vice versa. "It's absolutely true that some brain functions occur in one or the other side of the brain. Anderson and his colleagues, who published their new study in the journal PLOS ONE, looked at brain scans from 1,011 people between ages 7 and 29.