Scientists make brain signal discovery
(Medical Xpress) -- A Murdoch University scientist is closer to understanding why early brain development is so critical to mental health and function in the long term.
Dr Sarah Etherington from the School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences studied rodents which have similar microcircuits in their brains to those found in humans to discover that there are important changes in the flow of information within a part of the brain known as the visual cortex, during very early development.
Importantly, some of the most dramatic changes to information flow in the visual cortex, which processes visual information, seemed to occur when the subject first opened its eyes.
If the flow of information in the visual cortex is changing dramatically when the brain is first exposed to the visual world, it will impact on the other developmental processes in this tissue, explained Dr Etherington.
We are particularly interested in researching the development of the visual cortex because several debilitating human medical conditions, such as autism, involve specific deficiencies in the processing of visual information.
It has been known for decades that normal visual input the movement, shapes and colours of everyday life during development is essential for the visual cortex to function normally in maturity, but why this input is so important during this period remains unclear.
The bulk of Dr Etheringtons studies were carried out in the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge, England where she collaborated closely with Professor Stephen Williams, who has since relocated to the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland. Professor Williams is an international authority on neuroscience and is Dr Etheringtons mentor.
Together they studied one of the many connections in the visual cortex of rodents and their paper on the research has just been published in the prestigious publication The Journal of Neuroscience.
Funding from the McCusker Charitable Foundation will help Dr Etherington, Dr Williams and a research team at Murdoch University study some of the other connections in the mammalian visual cortex. The innovative method they will use records electrical signals from nerve cells in the cortex and so allows Dr Etherington to see how that pattern of information transfer between these cells changes over the early developmental period.
The research will utilise state-of-the-art equipment set up by Dr Etherington and funded by Murdoch University.
There has not been a lot of research done into how information flow within the visual cortex changes at this early stage of development and so we are now looking forward to mapping these changes, said Dr Etherington. We will then be able to test our hypothesis that changes in the flow of information within the visual cortex are experience-dependent.
We would hope that this could lead to understanding and ultimately minimising the potentially detrimental impact of early life experiences on lifetime mental health and function.
More information: www.jneurosci.org/
Provided by Murdoch University
- Filters that reduce 'brain clutter' identified Apr 14, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Mechanism of 'blindsight' explored Oct 31, 2005 | not rated yet | 0
- Picower research finds unexpected activity in visual cortex Mar 16, 2006 | not rated yet | 0
- Growing brain is particularly flexible Jun 22, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Brain reorganizes to adjust for loss of vision Nov 20, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
Neuroscience May 18, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
The neural machinery underlying our olfactory sense continues to be an enigma for neuroscience. A recent review in Neuron seeks to expand traditional ideas about how neurons in the olfactory bulb might encode information about ...
Neuroscience May 17, 2013 | 4 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—What if the quality of your work depends more on your focus on the piano keys or canvas or laptop than your musical or painting or computing skills? If target users can be convinced, they ...
Neuroscience May 17, 2013 | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Neurological disorders can have a devastating impact on the lives of sufferers and their families.
Neuroscience May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
If you're a left-brain thinker, chances are you use your right hand to hold your cell phone up to your right ear, according to a newly published study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Neuroscience May 16, 2013 | 2 / 5 (2) | 0 |
In a new study described in the journal Oncogene, researchers reveal how a key player in cell growth, immunity and the inflammatory response can be transformed into a primary contributor to tumor growth.
12 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) typically suffer from depression more frequently than those without COPD, resulting in higher levels of disability and illness and increasing the overall ...
8 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are at higher risk of melanoma, a form of skin cancer, report researchers at Mayo Clinic. Researchers found that IBD is associated with a 37 percent greater risk for the disease. ...
13 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW) explores pharmaceutical advances for treating irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D) and hepatitis C.
9 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Many studies have shown that men and women who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) - a disorder that causes breathing to halt intermittently during sleep – have a higher mortality rate than those who do not have the ...
9 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
In ICU patients who have septic shock, the anatomic source of infection has a strong effect on the chances of survival, according to a new study from researchers in Canada.
10 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0