Earth Science News  





. Neurons Hard Wired To Tell Left From Right

File image.
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 31, 2008
It's well known that the left and right sides of the brain differ in many animal species and this is thought to influence cognitive performance and social behaviour. For instance, in humans, the left half of the brain is concerned with language processing whereas the right side is better at comprehending musical melody.

Now researchers from UCL publishing their work in the open access journal Neural Development have pinpointed for the first time the left/right differences in how brains are wired at the level of individual cells. To do this, a research team led by Stephen Wilson looked at left and right-sided neurons (nerve cells) in a part of the brain called the habenula.

By causing habenular neurons to produce a bright green fluorescent protein they saw that they form remarkable "spiral-shaped" axons, the long nerve fibres that act as the nervous system's transmission lines.

"It's clear that the left and right halves of the brain process different types of information but almost nothing is known about the differences in the brain's circuitry which achieve this" says Wilson. "One possibility is that totally different types of neuron might be found on the left and right. Alternatively, both sides could contain the same building blocks but put them together in different ways".

The researchers saw that there are two types of habenular neuron and both types can be found on both left and right sides. However, whilst most left-sided cells have spiral axons shaped into a domed crown, such neurons are not very common on the right. Instead, most right-sided cells form flat, shallow spirals, and these are formed only occasionally on the left.

"In the same way that an engineer can make different electronic circuits from the same set of electronic components, so the left and right halves of the brain use the same types of neuron but in different combinations" explains Isaac Bianco, the student who did this work as part of his PhD studies.

The left and right habenular circuits both connect to the same part of the brain and the researchers found that this target can either combine signals from the left and right or handle them independently.

"Even though language is processed largely on the left side of the human brain, people don't speak with only one half of their mouth. The brain must contain circuits which take information from the left or right and then send it on to targets on both sides of the body" says Wilson.

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
BioMed Central
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
Preschool Kids Do Better On Tasks When They Talk To Themselves
Fairfax VA (SPX) Mar 31, 2008
Parents should not worry when their pre-schoolers talk to themselves; in fact, they should encourage it, says Adam Winsler, an associate professor of psychology at George Mason University. His recent study published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly showed that 5-year-olds do better on motor tasks when they talk to themselves out loud (either spontaneously or when told to do so by an adult) than when they are silent.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Raytheon Develops Advanced Concrete Breaking Technology For Urban Search And Rescue
  • Floods, cyclones, devastate southern Africa: UN
  • Louisiana System Built Homes Completes First Fortified For Safer Living Home
  • Mozambique tourist resort struggles to recover from cyclone

  • Negotiators gather to push new UN climate treaty
  • No Laughing Matter - Bacteria Are Releasing A Serious Greenhouse Gas
  • Small Desert Beetle Found To Engineer Ecosystems
  • Yes You Can Rescue A Rainforest

  • Satellites Can Help Arctic Grazers Survive Killer Winter Storms
  • CrIS Atmospheric Sounder Completes Vibration Testing
  • NASA Goddard Delivers Aquarius Radiometer To JPL
  • Brazil, Germany To Develop Night-Vision Radar Satellite

  • Analysis: Basra fight hurts oil exports
  • Analysis: U.K. firm to audit Turkmen gas
  • Philippine oil company sets aside 26 mln dlrs for biofuel plantations
  • Analysis: Iran extends influence

  • Vaccine For Ebola Virus
  • Brazil battles deadly dengue epidemic in Rio
  • UN spotlights scope of AIDS epidemic in Asia
  • Indonesia's bird flu situation 'grave'

  • Armed Beetles Find A Mate, Whatever Their Size
  • International Team Of Scientists Discover Clue To Delay Of Life On Earth
  • Insects Take A Bigger Bite Out Of Plants In A Higher CO2 World
  • Mantis Shrimp Vision Reveals New Way That Animals Can See

  • Ballast-Free Ship Could Cut Costs While Blocking Aquatic Invaders
  • Albania sitting on communist-era powder keg
  • China to spend more on cutting pollution: report
  • Black Carbon Pollution Emerges As Major Player In Global Warming

  • Preschool Kids Do Better On Tasks When They Talk To Themselves
  • Neurons Hard Wired To Tell Left From Right
  • Researchers Urge Ethics Guidelines For Human-Genome Research
  • Upright Walking Began 6 Million Years Ago

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. 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 SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement