Navigation Links
Scientists Unravel Mysteries of Intelligence
Date:2/26/2010

Good connections between key brain areas may be crucial, study shows

FRIDAY, Feb. 26 (HealthDay News) -- It's not a particular brain region that makes someone smart or not smart.

Nor is it the strength and speed of the connections throughout the brain or such features as total brain volume.

Instead, new research shows, it's the connections between very specific areas of the brain that determine intelligence and often, by extension, how well someone does in life.

"General intelligence actually relies on a specific network inside the brain, and this is the connections between the gray matter, or cell bodies, and the white matter, or connecting fibers between neurons," said Jan Glascher, lead author of a paper appearing in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "General intelligence relies on the connection between the frontal and the parietal [situated behind the frontal] parts of the brain."

The results weren't entirely unexpected, said Keith Young, vice chairman of research in psychiatry and behavioral science at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Temple, but "it is confirmation of the idea that good communication between various parts of brain are very important for this generalized intelligence."

General intelligence is an abstract notion developed in 1904 that has always been somewhat controversial.

"People noticed a long time ago that, in general, people who are good test-takers did well in a lot of different subjects," explained Young. "If you're good in mathematics, you're also usually good in English. Researchers came up with this idea that this represented a kind of overall intelligence."

"General intelligence is this notion that smart people tend to be smart across all different kinds of domains," added Glascher, who is a postdoctoral fellow in the department of humanities and social sciences at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Hoping to learn more, the authors located 241 patients who had some sort of brain lesion. They then diagrammed the location of their lesions and had them take IQ tests.

"We took patients who had damaged parts of their brain, tested them on intelligence to see where they were good and where they were bad, then we correlated those scores across all the patients with the location of the brain lesions," Glascher explained. "That way, you can highlight the areas that are associated with reduced performance on these tests which, by the reverse inference, means these areas are really important for general intelligence."

"These studies infer results based on the absence of brain tissue," added Paul Sanberg, distinguished professor of neurosurgery and director of the University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa. "It allows them to systemize and pinpoint areas important to intelligence."

Young said the findings echo what's come before. "The map they came up with was what we expected and involves areas of the cortex we thought would be involved -- the parietal and frontal cortex. They're important for language and mathematics," he said.

In an earlier study, the same team of investigators found that this brain network was also important for working memory, "the ability to hold a certain number of items [in your mind]," Glascher said. "In the past, people have associated general intelligence very strongly with enhanced working memory capacity so there's a close theoretical connection with that."

More information

Learn more about the workings of the brain at Harvard University's Whole Brain Atlas.



SOURCES: Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., distinguished professor, neurosurgery, and director, University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair, Tampa; Keith Young, Ph.D., vice chairman, research in psychiatry and behavioral science, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Temple, and neuroimaging and genetics core leader, VA Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System; Jan Glascher, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, department of humanities and social sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena; Feb. 22-26, 2010, Proceedings of the National Academies of Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists Spot Genetic Fingerprints of Individual Cancers
2. Johns Hopkins scientists develop personalized blood tests for cancer using whole genome sequencing
3. Two UCSF Scientists to Receive Prestigious Dementia Research Honor
4. Neuroscientists reveal new links that regulate brain electrical activity
5. Scientists find donut-shaped structure of enzyme involved in energy metabolism
6. Scientists Discover Molecular Pathway for Organ Tissue Regeneration and Repair
7. Prevention Is Key Research Goal for Premature Babies, Scientists Say
8. Scientists Discover How HIV Is Transmitted Between Men
9. Scientists Pinpoint Area of Brain That Fears Losing Money
10. Scientists Spot Genes Tied to Aging
11. UM School of Medicine scientists find new malaria vaccine is safe and promotes immune response in children
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... The annual time frame to change Medicare health ... is ending December 7th. Currently-enrolled Medicare beneficiaries who are looking to switch from their ... D) need to make changes during this period order for their new policy to ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 , ... More than ... and while 84 percent of parents report speaking with their child about sex related ... sexually transmitted diseases. , Mediaplanet is proud to announce the launch of its second ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... Sourced from the Isbre Springs beneath the 5,000 ... unmatched natural purity of just 6 ppm TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) in addition to ... been available in several ShopRite and FoodTown stores in NJ and received rave comments ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Miami, FL (PRWEB) , ... December 02, 2016 ... ... over 5,100 hot meals to needy individuals and families from eight different sites ... Florida on Thanksgiving Day. Over 1,000 volunteers worked very hard on Thanksgiving morning ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... , ... November 30, 2016 , ... ... they now offer a comprehensive in-house dental plan for all patients. Understanding that ... a plan that gives patients a number of perks, including discounts on many ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... YORK , December 2, 2016 ... Braces & Support) is Expected to Gain a Significant Market ... to Orthopedic Ailments  ... , According to ... Study on Medical Implants Sterile Packaging: Clamshell Product Type Segment ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... On Thursday, the NASDAQ Composite and ... the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to stay in green. ... which prompted Stock-callers this morning to look at the performances ... NUVA ), Smith & Nephew PLC (NYSE: SNN ... Cesca Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: KOOL ). You can ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... -- The concept of rare diseases and the idea that ... has been taking shape in Europe ... initiatives related to orphan medicinal products have been emerging at ... states individually. Many member states in the EU have led ... medicinal products, the result of which took the shape of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: