Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain Mechanism Recruited To Reduce Noise During Challenging Tasks

Date:
February 27, 2009
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
New research reveals a sophisticated brain mechanism that is critical for filtering out irrelevant signals during demanding cognitive tasks. The study also provides some insight into how disruption of key inhibitory pathways may contribute to schizophrenia.

New research reveals a sophisticated brain mechanism that is critical for filtering out irrelevant signals during demanding cognitive tasks. The study, published by Cell Press in the February 26 issue of the journal Neuron, also provides some insight into how disruption of key inhibitory pathways may contribute to schizophrenia.

Related Articles


"The ability to keep track of information and one's actions from moment to moment is necessary to accomplish even the simple tasks of everyday life," explains senior study author, Dr. Helen Barbas from Boston University and School of Medicine. "Equally important is the ability to focus on relevant information and ignore noise."

Dr. Barbas and colleague, Dr. Maria Medalla, were interested in examining the synaptic mechanisms for selection and suppression of signals involved in working memory. They focused on the fine synaptic interactions of pathways with excitatory and inhibitory neurons in brain areas involved in attention.

"The primate dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and anterior cingulated cortex (ACC) are brain regions that focus attention on relevant signals and suppress noise in cognitive tasks. However, their synaptic communication and unique roles in cognitive control are largely unknown," explains Dr. Barbas.

The researchers found that a pathway linking two related prefrontal areas within DLPFC and a pathway from the functionally distinct ACC to DLPFC similarly innervated excitatory neurons associated with paying attention to relevant stimuli. Interestingly, large nerve fiber endings from ACC contacted selectively inhibitory neurons that help suppress "noisy" excitatory neurons nearby.

These observations suggest that ACC has a greater impact in reducing noise in dorsolateral areas during challenging cognitive tasks involving conflict, error, or reversing decisions. These mechanisms are often disrupted in schizophrenia, and previous functional imaging studies by others have shown that schizophrenia is associated with reduced activity in ACC.

The authors conclude that ACC pathways may help reduce noise by stimulating inhibitory neurons in DLPFC. "The present data provide a circuit mechanism to suggest that pathology in the output neurons of ACC in schizophrenia might reduce excitatory drive to inhibitory neurons of dorsolateral prefrontal cortices, perturbing the delicate balance of excitation and inhibition," offers Dr. Barbas.

The researchers include Maria Medalla and Helen Barbas, of Boston University and School of Medicine, Boston, MA.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Brain Mechanism Recruited To Reduce Noise During Challenging Tasks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090225132245.htm>.
Cell Press. (2009, February 27). Brain Mechanism Recruited To Reduce Noise During Challenging Tasks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090225132245.htm
Cell Press. "Brain Mechanism Recruited To Reduce Noise During Challenging Tasks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090225132245.htm (accessed March 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
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