'Default-mode' brain network identified

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Washington, Feb 11 (ANI): Scientists in the U.S. say they have identified a part of the human brain that's used to hold low-priority ideas in abeyance until we have time to deal with them.

Dr. Peter Fox, director of the Research Imaging Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center said that processing area of the brain is called the default-mode network.

"The default-mode network appears to be the brain's back burner for social decision making. Usually these back-burner ideas relate to interpersonal interactions and decisions that can't readily be quantified and shouldn't be rushed," Fox said.

Fox said the multi-institution study estimated the importance of genetic effects on the default-mode network by creating maps of eight anatomically distinct regions within the network.

The maps were obtained by functional magnetic resonance imaging studies in 333 individuals from 29 randomly selected, extended-family pedigrees.

Network connectivity and gray-matter density were correlated to genetic factors.

"We found that more than 40 percent of the between-subject variance in functional connectivity within the default-mode network was under genetic control," Fox said, noting that information suggests new diagnostic tools could be considered for various psychiatric or neurological illnesses.

The research that included the Yale University School of Medicine, the University of Oxford and Imperial College London appeared in the Jan. 18-22 early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

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