Mathematical model unlocks key to brain wiring

May 10, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- A new mathematical model predicting how nerve fibres make connections during brain development could aid understanding of how some cognitive disorders occur.

The model, constructed by scientists at the Queensland Institute (QBI) and School of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Queensland (UQ), gives new insight into how changing chemical levels in fibres can modify nerve wiring underpinning connections in the brain.

Professor Geoff Goodhill says that while scientists have long known that changing these chemical levels can change where nerve fibres grow, only now are they understanding why this is the case.

“Our allows us to predict precisely how these chemical levels control the direction in which nerve fibres grow, during both neural development and regeneration after injury,” he said.

Correct brain wiring is fundamental for normal brain function.

Recent discoveries suggest that wiring problems may underpin a number of nervous system disorders including autism, dyslexia, Down syndrome, Tourette's syndrome and Parkinson's disease.

The new model, published in the prestigious cell journal Neuron demonstrates the important role mathematics can play in understanding how the brain develops, and perhaps ultimately preventing such disorders.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

The brain needs cleaning to stay healthy

May 26, 2016

Research led by the Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience, the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), and the Ikerbasque Foundation has revealed the mechanisms that keep the brain clean during neurodegenerative diseases.

Study identifies how brain connects memories across time

May 23, 2016

Using a miniature microscope that opens a window into the brain, UCLA neuroscientists have identified in mice how the brain links different memories over time. While aging weakens these connections, the team devised a way ...

Neuroscientists illuminate role of autism-linked gene

May 25, 2016

A new study from MIT neuroscientists reveals that a gene mutation associated with autism plays a critical role in the formation and maturation of synapses—the connections that allow neurons to communicate with each other.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.