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Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rich club’ of 12 rule the human brain

A “rich club” of 12 well-connected hubs coordinate everything that goes on between the ears, a new study has said.

These areas of the brain have significantly more connections than all the others, both to other regions and among themselves.

For the study, Martijn van den Heuvel from the University Medical Center in Utrecht and Olaf Sporns from the Indiana University Bloomington scanned the brains of 21 people as they rested for 30 minutes.

The researchers tracked the movements of water through 82 separate areas of the brain and their interconnecting neurons with the help of a technique known as diffusion tensor imaging, which is a form of MRI.

They found that 12 areas of the brain, the “rich club”, had more connection among themselves as well as all other regions of the brain as compared to the other parts.

‘These 12 regions have twice the connections of other brain regions, and they`re more strongly connected to each other than to other regions,” New Scientist quoted Van den Heuvel as saying.

“If we wanted to look for consciousness in the brain, I would bet on it turning out to be this rich club,” he said.

The “rich club” comprises of six pairs of identical regions, with one of each pair in each hemisphere of the brain and the best connected of all is the precuneus, an area at the back of the brain.

The study has been published recently in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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