Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High Brain Centres Teach Lower Brain To Adapt To Injury

Date:
October 1, 1999
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
Researchers at the University of Toronto have discovered that higher brain centres act as "training wheels" for the lower brain by enabling it to adapt to injury.

Researchers at the University of Toronto have discovered that higher brain centres act as "training wheels" for the lower brain by enabling it to adapt to injury.

In a paper to be published in the October edition of the Journal of Neuroscience, scientists examined the role played by the cerebral cortex - the highest brain centre - in controlling changes commonly observed at lower levels of the nervous system.

"While it has been obvious to scientists for some time that sensory information must flow up each level of the brain, it has always been a puzzle why there is such heavy feedback from higher levels back down to the lower areas of the brain," says Dr. Jonathan Dostrovsky, lead author and professor of physiology at U of T.

Lower brain centres need input from the cerebral cortex initially to adapt to damaged sensory pathways. Once the lower brain centres have been given enough time to adapt to the damage, however, the cerebral cortex is no longer needed to maintain this new re-organized state. In this sense, Dostrovsky says, the cerebral cortex acts much like training wheels for lower brain centres such as the thalamus.

"This sheds new light on the role of the cortex on the thalamus and it could possibly lead to new ways of dealing with strokes or other neurological conditions that involve loss of sensory input," says Dr. Jayson Parker, who conducted this research as part of his PhD thesis at U of T. "These results are still preliminary, but very promising."

Dostrovsky and Parker simulated injury by removing sensory input to the thalamus from the hind limb of laboratory rats, causing the cells of the thalamus to change their properties. This is known as plasticity, a process by which cells modify their properties in response to the removal of sensory input from another part of the body.

"The cortex appears to be necessary to enable these reorganizational changes to take place," Dostrovsky says. "But once it has occurred the cortex is no longer needed for maintaining the new reorganization."

Prof. Dostrovsky's work involves both research and clinical intervention for the management of chronic pain and movement disorders in humans. He was recently named chair of the scientific program committee for the next World Congress on Pain to be held in San Diego in 2002.

This study was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Medical Research Council of Canada.

CONTACT:

Steven de Sousa
U of T Public Affairs
(416) 978-5949
steven.desousa@utoronto.ca


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "High Brain Centres Teach Lower Brain To Adapt To Injury." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990930172705.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (1999, October 1). High Brain Centres Teach Lower Brain To Adapt To Injury. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990930172705.htm
University Of Toronto. "High Brain Centres Teach Lower Brain To Adapt To Injury." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990930172705.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins