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UCSB scientists report 'new beginning' in split-brain research, using new analytical tools
Date:11/2/2012

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) UC Santa Barbara has reported an important discovery in the interdisciplinary study of split-brain research. The findings uncover dynamic changes in brain coordination patterns between left and right hemispheres.

Split-brain research has been conducted for decades, and scientists have long ago shown that language processing is largely located in the left side of the brain. When words appear only in the left visual field an area processed by the right side of the brain the right brain must transfer that information to the left brain, in order to interpret it. The new study at UCSB shows that healthy test subjects respond less accurately when information is shown only to the right brain.

While hemispheric specialization is considered accurate, the new study sheds light on the highly complex interplay with neurons firing back and forth between distinct areas in each half of the brain. The findings rely on extremely sensitive neuroscience equipment and analysis techniques from network science, a fast-growing field that draws on insights from sociology, mathematics, and physics to understand complex systems composed of many interacting parts. These tools can be applied to systems as diverse as earthquakes and brains.

Fifty years ago, UC Santa Barbara neuroscientist Michael S. Gazzaniga moved the field forward when he was a graduate student at the California Institute of Technology and first author of a groundbreaking report on split-brain patients. The study, which became world-renowned, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in August 1962. This week, in the very same journal, Gazzaniga and his team announced major new findings in split-brain research. The report is an example of the interdisciplinary science for which UCSB is well known.

"The occasion of this paper is on the 50th anniversary of the first report on human split-brain research reported
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Contact: Gail Gallessich
gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

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UCSB scientists report 'new beginning' in split-brain research, using new analytical tools
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