New information on the development of the brain

May 14, 2010

With their French colleagues, researchers at the University of Helsinki have found a mechanism in the memory centre of newborn that adjusts the maturation of the brain for the information processing required later in life. The study was published this week in an American science magazine The Journal of Neuroscience.

The in the brain of a newborn are still quite loosely interconnected. In the middle of chaos, they are looking for contact with each other and are only later able to operate as interactive .

Many cognitive operations, such as attention, memory, learning and certain states of sleep are based on rhythmic interactions of neural networks. For a long time the researchers have been interested in finding the stage in the development of the brain in which the functional characteristics and interconnections are sufficiently developed for these subtle brain functions.

Key players in this maturation process include a type of nerve cells called interneurones, and recent research sheds light on their functional development. The researchers have noticed that the activeness of the interneurones change dramatically during early development. In the memory centre of the brain they found a mechanism which adjusts changes in the activeness of interneurones.

The interneurones are kind of controller cells. In the nervous system of a newborn they promote the creation of nerve cell contacts, and on the other hand they prevent premature rhythmic activity of neural networks. During development the controlling role will change, and the result is that the neural network becomes more efficiently rhythmic. This can be seen, for example, in the strengthening of the during sleep.

The mechanism adjusting the activity of the interneurones is related to the development phase which prepares the brain to process and handle information needed later in life. The finding may also offer more detailed means to intervene in the electric disorders of developing neural networks, such as epilepsy.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Our memory shifts into high gear when we think about raising our children, new study shows

December 15, 2017
Human memory has evolved so people better recall events encountered while they are thinking about raising their offspring, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New ...

Offbeat brain rhythms during sleep make older adults forget

December 15, 2017
Like swinging a tennis racket during a ball toss to serve an ace, slow and speedy brainwaves during deep sleep must sync up at exactly the right moment to hit the save button on new memories, according to new UC Berkeley ...

Study finds graspable objects grab attention more than images of objects do

December 15, 2017
Does having the potential to act upon an object have a unique influence on behavior and brain responses to the object? That is the question Jacqueline Snow, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno, ...

Journaling inspires altruism through an attitude of gratitude

December 14, 2017
Gratitude does more than help maintain good health. New research at the University of Oregon finds that regularly noting feelings of gratitude in a journal leads to increased altruism.

Little understood cell helps mice see color

December 14, 2017
Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have discovered that color vision in mice is far more complex than originally thought, opening the door to experiments that could potentially lead to new treatments ...

Scientists chart how brain signals connect to neurons

December 14, 2017
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have used supercomputers to create an atomic scale map that tracks how the signaling chemical glutamate binds to a neuron in the brain. The findings, say the scientists, shed light on the dynamic ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RobertKarlStonjek
not rated yet May 14, 2010
There are only three types of neurons ~ sensory, effector and interneurons. The entire brain, most of the peripheral nervous system and ganglia are made up of interneurons ie >99% of the brain is made up of interneurons...

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.