Saturday, March 24, 2007
Energy-efficient brains - neuroscience research shows that problem-solving works better if the brain workload is efficient
Successful problem solving depends on a brain that efficiently lessens its workload rather than laboring harder, a new study finds. Individuals may thus prefer less effortful problem-solving strategies not only for their simplicity but for their superior results, contend neuroscientist Erik D. Reichle of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and his colleagues.
Reichle's group administered tests of visual-spatial ability and verbal ability to five men and seven women. Next, functional magnetic resonance imaging scans assessed volunteers' brain activity--as indicated by the blood flow rising and falling--as they determined whether a series of sentences that they read corresponded to images that followed each sentence. On some trials, participants were told to form a mental image of each sentence to compare with the pictures; on other trials, they were told to focus on verbal meanings of sentences.
Volunteers made few errors on this task. The imagery strategy yielded more activation in brain regions linked to visual and spatial skills. However, individuals who scored highest on visual-spatial ability exhibited markedly lower blood-flow boosts in those areas, the scientists report in the June COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY. The verbal strategy produced activity hikes in language-related locations. Those increases were lowest for volunteers with the best verbal skills, Reichle's group says.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Physiopathology – clinicians have long been aware of structural pathology and the ability of these anatomical or biochemical abnormalities to produce malfunction. Malfunctions produced in this manner are termed pathophysiology by the health care community. Malfunction resulting from processing or signaling errors within the circuitry of nervous system is termed physiopathology. Because of the presence of both inborn and acquired neuronal interconnections (acquired because of efficiency driven neuroplasticity), processing and signaling errors can be produced and maintained.
Signals traveling along sensory afferent pathways and entering various neuronal circuits within the CNS or signals in from the PNS but entering the CNS will affect individuals differently. They can also affect the same individual differently on different occasions. In the presence of one set of variables, a migraine headache develops. With another set of variables, gastrointestinal or cardiac malfunction of one form occurs. In the presence of still another set of variables, the individual becomes chronically fatigued or clinically depressed. Acute or chronic anxiety, mental illness and amplified pain are a common result. Alterations in endocrine function can also occur. All of these consequences result from sub-cortical processing errors (signaling malfunction) that affect physiological mechanisms in a manner detrimental to the organism. In this paradigm, inappropriate emotions or amplified bodily pain or a diagnosable disease is just a symptom from processing and signaling errors and is not the primary diagnosis. The dis-ease is a result not the cause.