Navigation Links
Bridging the gap
Date:10/19/2011

PASADENA, Calif.Like a bridge that spans a river to connect two major metropolises, the corpus callosum is the main conduit for information flowing between the left and right hemispheres of our brains. Now, neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have found that people who are born without that linka condition called agenesis of the corpus callosum, or AgCCstill show remarkably normal communication across the gap between the two halves of their brains.

Their findings are outlined in a paper published October 19 in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Our brains are never truly at rest. Even when we daydream, there is a tremendous amount of communication happening between different areas in the brain. According to J. Michael Tyszka, lead author on the Journal of Neuroscience paper and associate director of the Caltech Brain Imaging Center, many areas of the brain display slowly varying patterns of activity that are similar to one another. The fact that these areas are synchronized has led many scientists to presume that they are all part of an interconnected network called a resting-state network. Much to their surprise, Tyszka and his team found that these resting-state networks look essentially normal in people with AgCC, despite the lack of connectivity.

"This was a real surprise," says Tyszka. "We expected to see a lot less coupling between the left and right brain in this groupafter all, they are missing about 200 million connections that would normally be there. How do they manage to have normal communication between the left and right sides of the brain without the corpus callosum?"

The work used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to demonstrate that synchronized activity between the left and right brain survives even this sort of radical rewiring of the nerve connections between the two hemispheres. The presence of symmetric patterns of activity in individuals born without a corpus callosum highlights the brain's remarkable plasticity and ability to compensate, says coauthor Lynn Paul, research staff member and lecturer in psychology at Caltech. "It develops these fundamental networks even when the left and right hemispheres are structurally disconnected."

The study that found the robust networks is part of an ongoing research program led by Paul, who has been studying AgCC for several decades. AgCC occurs in approximately one of every 4000 live births. The typical corpus callosum comprises almost 200 million axonsthe connections between brain cellsand is the largest fiber bundle in the human brain. In AgCC, those fibers fail to cross the gap between the hemispheres during fetal development, forcing the two halves of the brain to communicate using more indirect and currently unknown means.

"In the 1960s and 1970s, Roger Sperry at Caltech studied 'split-brain' patients in whom the corpus callosum was surgically severed as a treatment for epilepsy," explains Paul. "Our research on AgCC has moved in a different direction and focuses on a naturally occurring brain malformation that occurs before birth. This allows us to examine how, and to what extent, the brain can compensate for the loss of the corpus callosum as a person grows to adulthood."

According to the team, the findings are especially valuable in light of current theories that link impaired brain connections with clinical conditions including autism and schizophrenia.

"We are now examining AgCC subjects who are also on the autism spectrum, in order to gain insights about the role of brain connectivity in autism, as well as in healthy social interactions," says Tyszka. "About a third of people with AgCC also have autism, and altered connectivity in the corpus callosum has been found in autism. The remarkable compensation in brain functional networks that we found here may thus have important implications also for understanding the function of the brains of people with autism."


'/>"/>

Contact: Deborah Williams-Hedges
debwms@caltech.edu
626-395-3227
California Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. New study shows drinking your vegetables may be a solution to bridging the vegetable gap
2. Bridging public and private research on bioinformatics and proteomics
3. Genome Medicine: Bridging the gap between research and clinical practice
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Bridging the gap
(Date:2/2/2017)... JACKSONVILLE, Fla. , Feb. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... ), a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company specializing in the ... vaccines for the treatment of cancer and metastatic ... multi-gram scale-up and GMP manufacturing of a second ... T-cell vaccine targeting folate receptor alpha. The manufactured ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... , Feb. 1, 2017  Central to its ... meaningful advances worldwide, The Japan Prize Foundation today ... who have pushed the envelope in their respective ... Communication. Three scientists are being recognized with the ... that not only contribute to the advancement of ...
(Date:1/31/2017)... Jan. 31, 2017  Spero Therapeutics, LLC, a ... the treatment of bacterial infections, today announced it ... candidates from Pro Bono Bio Ltd (PBB) to ... multi-drug resistant forms of Gram-negative bacteria.   The assets ... Ltd, a PBB group company. "The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/16/2017)... HACKENSACK, N.J. , Feb. 16, 2017  Champions ... engaged in the development and sale of advanced technology ... of oncology drugs, today announced the addition of new ... These new models will expand Champions, product ... cancer, head and neck cancer, AML, and non-small cell ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... and NEW YORK , Feb. 16, ... completion of their $7M Series B financing, adding an ... the $3.5M led by Mesa Verde Venture Partners and ... resources will be directed towards further accelerating commercial adoption ... comprehensive genomic profiling test and expanding the Paradigm cancer ...
(Date:2/15/2017)... , 15. Februar 2017  Trianni, Inc. ... Biotech, Inc. (Janssen) eine Lizenzvereinbarung über die Verwendung ... Klasse führenden Plattform für die Entdeckung monoklonaler Antikörper. ... ihr neuartiges chimäres Gensegmentdesign aus, das Janssen ... humanen Antikörpern bietet und das für die schelle ...
(Date:2/15/2017)... -- Windtree Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: WINT ), ... therapies for respiratory diseases, will host a conference call ... EST on Thursday, February 16, 2017 to provide updates ... announced closing of a $10.5 million private offering and ... in the live call and take part in the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: