Navigation Links
OHSU researchers study the idling brain

PORTLAND, Ore Oregon Health & Science University researchers, along with scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, are uncovering new information about the mind by studying the brain while it is at rest. It is believed this research will one day provide new tools for diagnosing mental health disorders and monitoring the progress of treatments. The researchers' latest findings are published in the journal the Public Library of Science Computational Biology.

"For years, the vast majority of scientists studying human functional brain organization have focused on how activity changes when engaged in specific tasks," explained Damien Fair, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research scientist in psychiatry, OHSU School of Medicine. "However now we know there are several regions in the brain that continue to interact while a person is supposedly at rest sort of like a car that idles at a stoplight. Our lab is studying these interactions, or spontaneous brain activity, while the brain is at rest. We think that this approach will eventually help us distinguish typical function from atypical function and therefore help more rapidly diagnose and appropriately treat mental disorders."

To observe brain function in humans, the researchers use a form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) called functional connectivity MRI. Functional connectivity MRI allows the researchers to witness real-time brain activity as it occurs in study subjects. By studying a large group of subjects, the researchers were able to identify regions of the brain that spontaneously activate together while the subjects were at rest. These regions operate in tandem with one another, and group into regional networks.

"After observing a large group of study subjects between the ages of 7 and 31, we witnessed an interesting phenomenon," added Fair. "Communications between brain regions seem to be localized in children, but over time, regional communication becomes distributed across the whole brain. Despite these differences, children's brains are still very efficient. As with the adults, the brains in the children were still organized like a 'small world.'"

The next phase of this research is to begin comparing functional connectivity MRI images taken from typically developing human subjects with images taken from human subjects with mental disorders. The scientists believe doing so will allow them to pinpoint distinct functional differences that may one day assist physicians in diagnosing certain disorders.

"One of our key interest areas is ADHD," said Fair. "ADHD is one of the most widely diagnosed mental disorders in children, yet diagnosing it can be very difficult because diagnosis is based on patient and parent interviews and observational studies. Having a more tangible form of diagnosis - such as an MRI screening tool would be tremendously valuable to patients and physicians."


Contact: Jim Newman
Oregon Health & Science University

Related biology news :

1. Hebrew University researchers neutralize tumor growth in embryonic stem cell therapy
2. Researchers find snippet of RNA that helps make individuals remarkably alike
3. Stowers researchers develop whole genome sequencing approach for mutation discovery
4. Pfizer supports open access publishing for researchers in low-income countries
5. Genetic secrets of date palm unlocked by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar
6. Researchers identify a molecule that increases the risk of cardiac insufficiency
7. Researchers discover that gene switches on during development of epilepsy
8. Researchers report moderately large potential for red tide outbreak in Gulf of Maine region
9. UT Southwestern researchers probe kidney damage, protection in lupus
10. Researchers use brain interface to post to Twitter
11. TGen researchers discover possible way to block the spread of deadly brain tumors
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... Paris from 17 th ... Paris from 17 th until 19 th ... leader, has invented the first combined scanner in the world ... scanning surface. Until now two different scanners were required: one ... both on the same surface. This innovation is an ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. ... human interface solutions, today announced expansion of its ... ™ touch controller and display driver integration ... of smartphones. These new TDDI products add to ... (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... , Nov. 11, 2015   MedNet Solutions , ... spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce that it ... Clinical Trials (PCT) event, to be held November 17-19 ... able to view live demonstrations of iMedNet ... learn how iMedNet has been able to deliver ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... India , November 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... --> Growing popularity of companion diagnostics ... in cancer biomarkers market with pharmaceutical companies ... in-demand companion diagnostic tests. ... --> Complete report on global cancer ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2 nouvelles études permettent d , identifier ... souches bactériennes retrouvées dans la plaque dentaire des ... Ces recherches  ouvrent une nouvelle voie ... l,un des problèmes de santé les plus fréquemm ... --> 2 nouvelles études permettent d , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... of Black Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of a ... leaders met with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn Tuesday, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... HILLS, N.J. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... as the recipient of the 2016 USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, ... golf through his or her work with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: