Navigation Links
Mathematicians help to unlock brain function

Mathematicians from Queen Mary, University of London will bring researchers one-step closer to understanding how the structure of the brain relates to its function in two recently published studies.

Publishing in Physical Review Letters the researchers from the Complex Networks group at Queen Mary's School of Mathematics describe how different areas in the brain can have an association despite a lack of direct interaction.

The team, in collaboration with researchers in Barcelona, Pamplona and Paris, combined two different human brain networks - one that maps all the physical connections among brain areas known as the backbone network, and another that reports the activity of different regions as blood flow changes, known as the functional network. They showed that the presence of symmetrical neurons within the backbone network might be responsible for the synchronised activity of physically distant brain regions.

Lead author Vincenzo Nicosia, said "We don't fully understand how the human brain works. So far the focus has been more on the analysis of the function of single, localised regions. However, there isn't a complete model that brings the whole functionality of the brain together. Hopefully, our research will help neuroscientists to develop a more accurate map of the brain and investigate its functioning beyond single areas."

The research adds to the recent findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which the QM researchers along with the Department of Psychiatry at University of Cambridge analysed the development of the brain of a small worm called Caenorhabditis elegans. In this paper, the team examined the number of links formed in the brain during the worm's lifespan, and observed an unexpected abrupt change in the pattern of growth, corresponding with the time of egg hatching.

"The research is important as it's the first time that a sharp transition in the growth of a neural network has ever been observed," added Dr Nicosia.

"Although we don't know which biological factors are responsible for the change in the growth pattern, we were able to reproduce the pattern using a simple economical model of synaptic formation. This result can pave the way to a deeper understanding of how neural networks grow in more complex organisms."

The Complex Networks group at Queen Mary is headed by Professor Vito Latora. Aside from theoretical research about the structure and function of complex networks, the group is working on the characterisation of multi-layer brain networks, aimed at reconciling and integrating different brain signals to produce a more informative picture of the human brain.


Contact: Neha Okhandiar
Queen Mary, University of London

Related biology news :

1. Mathematicians find solution to biological building block puzzle
2. Mathematicians tackle global issues
3. UC Riverside mathematicians recognized by American Mathematical Society
4. Artificial womb unlocks secrets of early embryo development
5. UCLA life scientists unlock mystery of how handedness arises
6. Rensselaer scientists unlock some key secrets of photosynthesis
7. Citizen science helps unlock European genetic heritage
8. Speed and power of X-ray laser helps unlock molecular mysteries
9. UC Santa Barbara scientists learn how to unlock the destiny of a cell: A gift for the tin man?
10. Could chloroplast breakthrough unlock key to controlling fruit ripening in crops?
11. Biologists unlocking the secrets of plant defenses, 1 piece at a time
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/2/2015)...  SRI International has been awarded a contract of ... to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) PREVENT Cancer Program ... modern testing and support facilities, and analytical instrumentation to ... studies to evaluate potential cancer prevention drugs. ... Drug Development Program is an NCI-supported pipeline to bring ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015  Connected health pioneer, Joseph C. Kvedar ... technology-enabled health and wellness, and the business opportunities that ... The Internet of Healthy Things . Long before ... existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, ... moving care from the hospital or doctor,s office into ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), ... Google has adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ® ... power its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X by ... --> --> Synaptics works ... strategic collaboration in the joint development of next generation ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)...  Symic, a clinical-stage biotherapeutics company developing multiple compounds ... announced that it has secured $25 million in a ... its lead candidates SB-030 and SB-061. The financing was ... all existing major investors, as well as several new ... by Symic to over $43 million since being founded ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... Matthew ... his new post, VerMilyea will oversee all IVF lab procedures as well ... and fertility preservation. , “We traveled 7,305 miles to Auckland, New Zealand to bring ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Global Stem Cells Group ... in the Santiago Marriott. The Global Stem Cells Group GMP facility is equipped ... of qualified medical researchers and practitioners, experienced in administering stem cell protocols using ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... -- Partnership includes an MPP ... the u niversity , s Solid Drug ... cale - up through ... Africa , where licensees based anywhere in the world will have the right ... Africa , where licensees based anywhere in the world will have ...
Breaking Biology Technology: