Navigation Links
Better brain wiring linked to family genes
Date:3/3/2011

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 international publication 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, Australia 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.

He said how the brain's network is organized has been a mystery to scientists for years. "The brain is an extraordinarily complex network of billions of nerve cells interconnected by trillions of fibres," he said.

"The brain tries to maximize its bang-for-buck by striking a balance between making more connections to promote efficient communication and minimising the "cost" or amount of wiring required to make these connections. Our findings indicate that this balance, called 'cost-efficiency', has a strong genetic basis."

"Ultimately, this research may help us uncover which specific genes are important in explaining differences in cognitive abilities, risk for mental illness and neurological diseases such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, leading to new gene-based therapies for these disorders."

"Although genes play a major role in brain function, the environment and other factors contribute to when things go wrong in cases of mental illness and other brain disorders," he said.

The research team, which included scientists at the Universities of Queensland and Cambridge, UK compared the brain scans of 38 identical and 26 non-identical twins from the Australian Twin Registry.

Using new techniques, the researchers were able to construct detailed maps of each person's brain network and measured the cost-efficiency of network connections for the entire brain, as well as for specific brain regions.

"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.


'/>"/>

Contact: Rebecca Scott
rebeccas@unimelb.edu.au
61-383-440-181
University of Melbourne
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Planning and visualization lead to better food habits
2. A better way to diagnose pneumonia
3. A loose grip provides better chemotherapy
4. Team looks to the cow rumen for better biofuels enzymes
5. Opposites may attract, but they dont make better parents
6. EU grant for better monitoring of Crohns disease using MRI
7. Biofuel grasslands better for birds than ethanol staple corn, researchers find
8. Children in formal child care have better language skills
9. Food of the gods genome sequence could make finest chocolate better
10. Study: Personal contacts at work help people better understand organ donation
11. Soaring is better than flapping
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/19/2017)... Jan. 19, 2017 Sensory Inc ... and security for consumer electronics, and i ... systems and cybersecurity solutions, today announced a global ... financial institutions worldwide to bolster security of data ... secure user authentication platforms they offer, innerCore now ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... NEW YORK , Jan. 12, 2017  New research ... around the office of the future.  1,000 participants were simply ... last three months which we may consider standard issue.  Insights ... office of 2017 were also gathered from futurists and industry ... and Dr. James Canton .  Some ...
(Date:1/6/2017)... , Jan. 5, 2017  SomaLogic announced today ... Life Alliance" established by iCarbonX, the ... build a "Global Digital Health Ecosystem that can ... combination of individual,s biological, behavioral and psychological data, ... between the companies, SomaLogic will provide proteomics data ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/23/2017)... N.J. , Jan. 23, 2017   Enteris ... feasibility study agreement with Sanofi to leverage ... delivery platform, Peptelligence™, to develop an oral formulation of ... Joel Tune , Chief Executive Officer and Executive ... is further validation of the tremendous value our Peptelligence ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... , Jan. 23, 2017  Alkahest Inc. ... treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and other age-related conditions, ... the company as Chief Medical Officer. In this ... clinical development activities at Alkahest and serve on ... most recently served as Executive Director at Dynavax, ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... Nipro Corporation (Osaka, Japan) and Transonic ... which Nipro will receive exclusive marketing and sales rights for all non-OEM Transonic products ... hemodialysis patients in Japan, the new Nipro - Transonic JV is a natural next ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... Jan. 20, 2017 Aratana Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... on the licensing, development and commercialization of innovative biopharmaceutical ... Best Company in North America ... award based on the FDA approval of three ... ENTYCE ® (capromorelin oral solution) and NOCITA ® ...
Breaking Biology Technology: