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:8/23/2017)... , Aug. 23, 2017  The general public,s help is being ... microbiome—the bacteria that live in and on the human body –and are ... The Microbiome ... the human microbiome, starting with the gut. The project's goal is to ... Photo credit: IBM ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... June 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing ... event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, ... 15-17. During the event, nine startups will showcase the solutions ... various industries. France ... market, with a 30 percent increase in the number of ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... 2017 Janice Kephart , former ... Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues the ... Trump,s March 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting ... can be instilled with greater confidence, enabling the ... refugee applications are suspended by until at least ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit is back for its ... 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current and former FDA office ... directors and government officials from around the world to address key issues in device ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... , ... Disappearing forests and increased emissions are the main causes of the ... Especially those living in larger cities are affected by air pollution related diseases. , ... pollution-affected countries globally - decided to take action. , “I knew I had to ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... October ... ... a development-stage cancer-focused pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today ... of targeted HPLN (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... SomaGenics announced the receipt of a Phase ... (Single Cell), expected to be the first commercially available ... from single cells using NGS methods. The NIH,s recent ... development of approaches to analyze the heterogeneity of cell ... for measuring levels of mRNAs in individual cells have ...
Breaking Biology Technology: