Navigation Links
fMRIs reveal brain's handling of low-priority ideas

SAN ANTONIO (Feb. 10, 2010) When we put an idea on the back burner, it goes into a processing area of the brain called the default-mode network. This network enables us to hold the low-priority idea in abeyance until a time when we aren't busy with something else.

"The default-mode network appears to be the brain's back burner for social decision making," said Peter T. Fox, M.D., director of the Research Imaging Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Usually these back-burner ideas relate to interpersonal interactions and decisions that can't readily be quantified and shouldn't be rushed."

Dr. Fox likened this to putting a computer batch job into background processing to wait until the system is less busy.

Role of genetics

A recently released study from the Research Imaging Institute, the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research and other institutions offers evidence that genetics plays a role in this back-burner setup, which has been shown to be abnormal in a variety of psychiatric disorders.

The work was described in the Jan. 18-22 online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The default-mode network is one of several neural networks that operate whether the mind is at rest or is occupied doing a task. A separate PNAS paper, published in 2009 by Dr. Fox and the same collaborators, presented a strong case that all human behaviors may be properly viewed as cooperative interactions among these networks, Dr. Fox said.


The newer research estimated the importance of genetic effects on the default-mode network by creating maps of eight anatomically distinct regions within the network. These maps were obtained by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies in 333 individuals from 29 randomly selected, extended-family pedigrees.

Network connectivity and gray-matter density were correlated to genetic factors. "We found that more than 40 percent of the between-subject variance in functional connectivity within the default-mode network was under genetic control," Dr. Fox said.

Based on this information, it is possible new diagnostic tools could be considered for various psychiatric or neurological illnesses, he said.

The study also included collaborators from the Yale University School of Medicine, the University of Oxford in Oxford, U.K., and Imperial College in London, U.K. The project is an outgrowth of longstanding collaborations between the UT Health Science Center and the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research using tools for gene discovery. It is also a result of substantial collaborations between the Research Imaging Institute and Oxford to develop novel applications of imaging methods.

Future directions

"One long-term research goal is to test whether other intrinsically connected networks are also under genetic control, which we expect they will be," Dr. Fox said. "We also want to identify the genes that are controlling the default-mode network and other networks, and identify disorders associated with their abnormalities. A final goal is to develop treatment strategies."


Contact: Will Sansom
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Related biology news :

1. Childhood obesity indicates greater risk of school absenteeism, Penn study reveals
2. Study begins to reveal clues to the cause and progression of sepsis
3. Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life, scientists claim
4. Structure of 450 million year old protein reveals evolutions steps
5. UF scientists reveal how dietary restriction cleans cells
6. Neural stem cell study reveals mechanism that may play role in cancer
7. New method reveals substances on surfaces of any kind
8. Study reveals predation-evolution link
9. IDEMA Reveals Program Highlights for DISKCON USA 2007
10. Study reveals possible genetic risk for fetal alcohol disorders
11. IDEMA Reveals Program Highlights for DISKCON USA 2007
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
fMRIs reveal brain's handling of low-priority ideas
(Date:11/18/2015)... 18, 2015  As new scientific discoveries deepen our ... other healthcare providers face challenges in better using that ... In addition, as more children continue to survive pediatric ... and old age. John M. Maris, M.D ... of Philadelphia (CHOP) . --> John ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... 17, 2015  Vigilant Solutions announces today that Mr. ... of Directors. --> --> ... from the partnership at TPG Capital, one of the ... $140 Billion in revenue.  He founded and led TPG,s ... TPG companies, from 1997 to 2013.  In his first ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 2015  Arxspan has entered into an agreement ... for use of its ArxLab cloud-based suite of ... partnership will support the institute,s efforts to electronically ... information internally and with external collaborators. The ArxLab ... the Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, compound and assay ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: ... be speaking at the following conference, and invited investors ... York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at ... York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at ... Healthcare Conference, New York, NY ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Copper is an ... is bound to proteins, copper is also toxic to cells. With a $1.3 ... Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of copper in the bacteria Pseudomonas ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of ... , today announced that the company has set a new quarterly ... quarter on quarter growth posted for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 ... Mexico , with the establishment of an ... --> United Kingdom and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The Academy of Model ... Group (SIG), MultiGP, also known as Multirotor Grand Prix, to represent the First–Person View ... years. Many AMA members have embraced this type of racing and several new model ...
Breaking Biology Technology: