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Scans of brain networks may help predict injury's effects
Date:3/23/2010

han patients with damaged connections between regions on the same side of the brain. That meant, for example, that stroke damage on the left side of the brain might lead to problems with control of the right arm, but the losses were significantly worse if the left-side damage disrupted network connections with the right side of the brain.

Those results do not mesh with the traditional picture of brain function, which puts the left side of the brain in control of the right side of the body and vice versa. But this and other recent findings have neuroscientists thinking they may need to adjust that picture.

"It's not wrong to say that one side of your brain controls the opposite side of your body, but we're starting to realize that it oversimplifies things," says first author Alex Carter, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology. "It's starting to seem like proper function requires the two hemispheres to be competing for attention, pushing against each other and thereby achieving some kind of balance."

To further define and confirm FC's clinical applicability, researchers are planning additional studies of brain injury patients. They also plan to use FC in long-term studies of recuperation of such patients.


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Contact: Michael C. Purdy
purdym@wustl.edu
314-286-0122
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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