A new study revealed Wednesday that the shape of the brain can have a considerable influence on how we feel, behave and transmit communication signals to the body, challenging the previous notion that our thoughts and mental activity are caused by billions of interconnected neurons, it was reported. NBC News.
The study published in the journal Alam, concluded the study by examining brain MRI scans of 255 people. Study participants were also asked to perform tasks such as tapping their fingers or remembering a sequence of pictures.
This is how the researchers collated information on 10,000 different brain maps collected from more than 1,000 experiments around the world, to determine the relationship between brain shape and function.
In the next step, with the help of a computer model in which brain size can contribute to the brain’s electrical activity, the researchers compared the model to pre-existing models of brain activity related to understanding the connectivity of neurons as drivers. of brain function.
In the findings, the researchers note that “comparisons show that the new model provides a more accurate reconstruction of brain activity shown in MRI scans and brain activity maps than previous models.”
Study lead author James Pang, a researcher at Monash University in Australia, said: “The size and shape of the pond helps determine the nature of the ripples.
“Geometry is very important because it guides how the waves will look, which in turn relates to the patterns of activity that you see when people perform different tasks,” added Pang.
David Van Essen, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Washington in St. Louis, said “the brain shape theory has been espoused for more than a decade.”
He noted: “But most researchers still adhere to the classic hypothesis: that each of the brain’s nearly 100 billion neurons, or nerve cells, has an axon, which functions like a wire to carry information to other neurons, and that enables brain activity.”
“The underlying initial hypothesis was that brain networks are critical to understanding how the brain functions,” said Van Essen.
Pang says his “research doesn’t ignore the importance of communication between neurons; instead, it suggests that brain geometry plays a more important role in brain function.”
“What this work shows is that shape has a stronger influence, but that doesn’t mean that connectivity isn’t important,” he said.
Pang also underlines that “the brain shape hypothesis has an advantage: brain shape is easier to measure than brain tissue, so looking more closely at brain size or shape could open up new avenues for research.”
He is of the view that “one topic worth exploring is the possible role of brain shape in the development of psychiatric and neurological diseases.”
According to Pang, in theory, the speed with which the waves travel to different regions of the brain can influence how people process information. “That, in turn, may contribute to patterns of brain activity associated with illnesses such as schizophrenia or depression.”
Pang said the findings “remain robust” even after conducting an individual-level analysis of brain shape.
Pang said the research was inconclusive, but noted that in his view, the new study “strengthens the theory” that brain shape has a greater influence on brain activity than the wiring of neurons.
“We’re pretty sure that the influence is really there,” he said.
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