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Better Brain Wiring Linked to Family Genes

Sagittal human brain with cortical regions del...

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Better Brain Wiring Linked to Family Genes

 

From the March 3 2011 Science Daily item

ScienceDaily (Mar. 3, 2011) — How well our brain functions is largely based on our family’s genetic makeup, according to a University of Melbourne led study. The study published in The Journal of Neuroscience provides the first evidence of a genetic effect on how ‘cost-efficient’ our brain network wiring is, shedding light on some of the brain’s make up.

Lead author Dr Alex Fornito from the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre at the University of Melbourne said the findings have important implications for understanding why some people are better able to perform certain tasks than others and the genetic basis of mental illnesses and some neurological diseases….

…”We found that people differed greatly in terms of how cost-efficient the functioning of their brain networks were, and that over half of these differences could be explained by genes,” said Dr Fornito.

Across the entire brain, more than half (60%) of the differences between people could be explained by genes. Some of the strongest effects were observed for regions of the prefrontal cortex which play a vital role in planning, strategic thinking, decision-making and memory.

Previous work has shown that people with more efficient brain connections score higher on tests of intelligence, and that brain network cost-efficiency is reduced in people with schizophrenia, particularly in the prefrontal cortex.

“This exciting discovery opens up a whole new area of research focus for scientists around the world,” he said.

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March 4, 2011 - Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , ,

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