Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




ABOUT US
Brain connections may explain why girls mature faster
by Staff Writers
Newcastle UK (SPX) Dec 27, 2013


File image.

Newcastle University scientists have discovered that as the brain re-organises connections throughout our life, the process begins earlier in girls which may explain why they mature faster during the teenage years.

As we grow older, our brains undergo a major reorganisation reducing the connections in the brain. Studying people up to the age of 40, scientists led by Dr Marcus Kaiser and Ms Sol Lim at Newcastle University found that while overall connections in the brain get streamlined, long-distance connections that are crucial for integrating information are preserved.

The researchers suspect this newly-discovered selective process might explain why brain function does not deteriorate - and indeed improves -during this pruning of the network. Interestingly, they also found that these changes occurred earlier in females than in males.

Explaining the work which is being published in Cerebral Cortex, Dr Kaiser, Reader in Neuroinformatics at Newcastle University, says: "Long-distance connections are difficult to establish and maintain but are crucial for fast and efficient processing. If you think about a social network, nearby friends might give you very similar information - you might hear the same news from different people.

"People from different cities or countries are more likely to give you novel information. In the same way, some information flow within a brain module might be redundant whereas information from other modules, say integrating the optical information about a face with the acoustic information of a voice is vital in making sense of the outside world."

Brain "pruned"
The researchers at Newcastle, Glasgow and Seoul Universities evaluated the scans of 121 healthy participants between the ages of 4 and 40 years as this is where the major connectivity changes can be seen during this period of maturation and improvement in the brain. The work is part of the EPSRC-funded Human Green Brain project which examines human brain development.

Using a non-invasive technique called diffusion tensor imaging - a special measurement protocol for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners - they demonstrated that fibres are overall getting pruned that period.

However, they found that not all projections (long-range connections) between brain regions are affected to the same extent; changes were influenced differently depending on the types of connections.

Projections that are preserved were short-cuts that quickly link different processing modules, e.g. for vision and sound, and allow fast information transfer and synchronous processing. Changes in these connections have been found in many developmental brain disorders including autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia.

The researchers have demonstrated for the first time that the loss of white matter fibres between brain regions is a highly selective process - a phenomenon they call preferential detachment.

They show that connections between distant brain regions, between brain hemispheres, and between processing modules lose fewer nerve fibres during brain maturation than expected. The researchers say this may explain how we retain a stable brain network during brain maturation.

Commenting on the fact that these changes occurred earlier in females than males, Ms Sol Lim explains: "The loss of connectivity during brain development can actually help to improve brain function by reorganizing the network more efficiently. Say instead of talking to many people at random, asking a couple of people who have lived in the area for a long time is the most efficient way to know your way. In a similar way, reducing some projections in the brain helps to focus on essential information."

Academic paper: Preferential Detachment During Human Brain Development: Age- and Sex-Specific Structural Connectivity in Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) Data. Sol Lim; Cheol E. Han; Peter J. Uhlhaas; Marcus Kaiser.Cerebral Cortex 2013; doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht333

.


Related Links
Newcastle University
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ABOUT US
Texting may be good for your health
Ann Arbor MI (SPX) Dec 27, 2013
New University of Michigan research says that a simple tool right in your back pocket may help decrease your risk for type 2 diabetes: Text messages on your phone. An overwhelming majority of surveyed people who enrolled in customized texting service txt4health piloted in Detroit and Cincinnati last year said the free mobile education program made them more aware of their diabetes risk and ... read more


ABOUT US
Iran vows to restore glory of quake-hit Bam citadel

Hundreds of corpses unburied after Philippine typhoon

Brazil vows better flood alert systems

Christmas in mud as rain pelts Philippine disaster zone

ABOUT US
New computer memory can hold data 20 years without power

Scientific data lost at alarming rate

Europe's Gaia telescope detaches from Fregat-MT upper stage

Sailing satellites into safe retirement

ABOUT US
Deepwater Horizon NRDA study shows possible oil impact on dolphins

Saving Fiji's coral reefs linked to forest conservation upstream

Drought and climate change: An uncertain future?

Saving the Great Plains water supply

ABOUT US
No regrets say Greenpeace Arctic activists after UK return

5,000 polar bears expected to be born around New Year's

China icebreaker heads to science ship trapped off Antarctica

Final amnestied foreign Greenpeace activist leaves Russia

ABOUT US
Extinction risk prompts ban on fishing for caviar-producing sturgeon

The fate of the eels

Genetic discovery points the way to much bigger yields in tomato, other flowering food plants

Corn pest decline may save farmers money

ABOUT US
Powerful cyclone bears down on western Australia

Flood displaces 18,000 in Indonesia

Indonesian volcano may erupt again, keep evacuees from returning home

Volcanic formation conjoins existing Japan island

ABOUT US
DR Congo arrests rebel leader accused of war crimes

Outside View: Memories of Mandela's Christmas in prison

South Sudan army advances on rebel-held town

US aircraft attacked, fighting escalates in South Sudan

ABOUT US
What Does Compassion Sound Like?

Brain connections may explain why girls mature faster

Texting may be good for your health

New evidence that computers change the way we learn




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement