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Human Brain Works Between Order and Chaos

Finding could lead to new treatments for cognitive disorders, researchers say

FRIDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- The human brain functions on "the edge of chaos," at a critical point between order and randomness, according to U.K.-based researchers who said their finding could help improve understanding about cognitive performance and psychiatric disorders.

The researchers used medical imaging to measure changes in the synchronization of activity between different regions of the functional network in human brains and determined that the brain operates in a "self-organized critical state," according to a news release from PLoS Computational Biology. The study is in its March 20 issue.

Further research using computational models confirmed the conclusion. The models exactly reflected the profile the researchers found using imaging technology.

The evidence is only a starting point, said Manfred Kitzbichler, an author of the study. "A natural next question we plan to address in future research will be: How do measures of critical dynamics relate to cognitive performance or neuropsychiatric disorders and their treatments?" he said.

More information

The Franklin Institute has more about the human brain.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Public Library of Science, news release, March 19, 2009

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