Navigation Links
Why Human Brains Are Smarter Than Chimp Brains
Date:2/4/2012

FRIDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Extended synaptic development may explain why humans are intellectually superior to primates, a new study suggests.

During the first few years of life, human babies' mental abilities continue to develop and absorb information and experiences from the environment in a way that far surpasses even the closest primate relatives of humans.

This is due to extended synaptic development, according to the study published online Feb. 1 in the journal Genome Research. The finding sheds new light on the biology and evolution of human brain development, according to the researchers.

"Why can we absorb environmental information during infancy and childhood and develop intellectual skills that chimpanzees cannot?" senior author Philipp Khaitovich, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, asked in a journal news release. "What makes the human brain so special?"

He and his colleagues investigated how genes are read, or expressed, during brain development in young humans, chimps (which are closely related to humans), and macaques, a more distantly related species of primate.

The researchers focused on the prefrontal cortex, a more recently evolved brain region associated with abstract thought, planning, impulse control and problem solving, and the cerebellum, an ancient brain region involved in motor control.

"Among all developmental changes specific to the human brain, one process -- synaptogenesis -- clearly stood out," Khaitovich said.

Synaptogenesis, the foundation of learning and memory in the brain, involves the formation of synaptic connections, strengthening useful connections and eliminating useless connections, he explained.

In humans, peak expression of synaptic genes in the prefrontal cortex doesn't occur until about age five. In chimps and macaques, this occurs in the first year of life. This human-specific change occurs only in the prefrontal cortex, not in the cerebellum.

"Our findings suggest that the human brain remains extremely plastic and susceptible to environmental input during the first five years of life," Khaitovich said. "Our study uncovers one of the important mechanisms potentially involved in evolution of human cognition."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about brain development during childhood and adolescence.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Genome Research, news release, Feb. 1, 2012


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

Related medicine news :

1. Actor and Humanitarian Harrison Ford Assists Operation Smiles Relief Efforts in Haiti
2. Human Dental Technology Leads to Breakthroughs for Pet Dental Health at Sergeants Pet Care Products, Inc.
3. Scripps Health Begins Pioneering Study of Human Tumor Sequencing in Cancer Patients
4. New drug for kidney transplant recipients effective in humans
5. Agility Consulting Partners with pan (Performance Assessment Network) to Bring Custom Private Label Assessment Capability to Human Resource Professionals and Consultants
6. Dolphins health shed light on human and ocean health
7. Dolphins could be ideal model to study human cervical cancer, UF veterinarians say
8. Dolphins May Warn of Health Risks in Humans
9. Inadequate access to opioid-based pain relief is a human rights issue for cancer patients
10. Sociologist expands US conversation on human rights
11. State of Oregon Department of Human Services Selects Netsmart Technologies for Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare Integration Project
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... communities in the greater Dallas, Miami, and Raleigh regions, is organizing an extended ... overcome a rare and deadly chromosome abnormality. , After struggling since birth with ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The International Association of Eating ... excellence for the field of eating disorders, announces the opening of early registration ... Orlando, Florida at the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate. , The annual ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... with Alzheimer’s or dementia. However, many long-term care insurance companies have a waiver for ... mean is the 90-day elimination period, when the family pays for care, is often ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... Talented host, actor Rob Lowe, is ... a new episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning educational program broadcasted ... each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs when the sciatic ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 ... characterized by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)... 4, 2017  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ... . PhysicianOne Urgent Care is helping communities across Massachusetts ... , by offering no-cost* flu shots through the end of the month. ... health insurance regulations. ... to get a flu shot is by the end of October, according ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Oct. 2, 2017 Halo Labs announces the European launch ... called the HORIZON at MIBio 2017 in Cambridge, U.K ... visible particulate matter in biopharmaceutical samples with unprecedented speed and sensitivity ... novel technique Backgrounded Membrane Imaging. ... The HORIZON subvisible particle analysis system ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... YORK , Sept. 27, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), a ... today announced that its MyDario product is expected to appear on The ... when The Dr. Oz Show airs in your area: http://www.doctoroz.com/page/where-watch-dr-oz-show ... The nine-time Emmy award-winning, The Dr. Oz ... The ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: