Brain efficiency genetic?

Our ability to problem solve can be traced back to genetically preordained neural networks

A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience has demonstrated that our ability to problem solve, how organised we are able to be and some mental illnesses, can be traced back to genetically preordained neural networks.

Lead author Dr Alex Fornito, from the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre at the University of Melbourne, says the findings are a significant step towards understanding why some people are more suited to some tasks than others.

More efficient neural networks generally means higher intelligence, as it simply allows each part of the brain to communicate faster and more effectively with each other, and just like in the outer world with electrical circuitry, more efficient neural circuitry uses less energy.

Comparing twins with twins

The research was conducted comparing brain cans of identical twins, who share the same genes, and non identical twins who only share 50% of genes. MRI scans measured the neural efficiency of the whole brain as well as particular networks, and showed that the identical twins' neural efficiency was much more similar than non identical twins'.

Fornito thinks that roughly 60% of overall differences could be attributed to genes, while this effect was more pronounced in particular areas such as the prefrontal cortex, an area responsible for strategic thinking, planning and memory that is also the first area to be affected by mental illnesses including schizophrenia.

Fornito adds that although genes play a major role, the environment and other factors can influence the timing of when things go wrong in cases of mental illness and other brain disorders.

Summarised for from Brain efficiency comes from parents by Carl Holm, 4/3/11

Related to - Recent health research | Psychotherapy | Mental health | Health news

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