overview: Front gates coordinate networks associated with executive commands to accomplish together the many cognitively demanding tasks we perform in the moment.
sauce: University of Maryland
Hidden beneath the outer, wrinkled cortex of the brain is a highly mysterious region known as the anterior fume. This area has long been known to exchange signals with much of the cerebral cortex, which is responsible for advanced reasoning and complex thinking.
The claustrum has such extensive links that legendary scientist Dr. Francis Crick, famous for his DNA discovery, first hypothesized in 2005 that the claustrum is the seat of consciousness. That is, the area of the brain that allows us to perceive the world and ourselves.
But researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine speculate that the click may have been wrong. They say that the data-based regions of the cerebral cortex that form complex thoughts act like cataracts like high-speed internet routers and generate ‘networks’ in the cerebral cortex.
Cloastrum acts like a router, tying these networks together to perform a variety of cognitively demanding tasks that you perform moment-to-moment in your daily life.
New findings and hypotheses will be available on September 30, 2022 Trends in cognitive science.
Disrupted networks are a typical feature of many disorders, such as addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia, so we need to explore how the brain forms and coordinates these networks in the cortex via the anterior window. It’s important to understand. This insight may lead to better treatments to address cognitive impairment in these disorders.
“The brain is the most complex system in the known universe,” said Dr. Brian Mathur, Associate Professor of Pharmacology at UMSOM.
“The claustrum, the most highly connected structure in the brain, is the mystery of the brain, the window to the psyche.”
To identify the exact role of the claustrum, Dr. Mathur and his colleagues performed extensive experiments in both animals and humans. In one experiment, modern neuroscience approaches were used to turn off the claustrum in conscious mice. The mouse did not lose consciousness and was running around normally. This was strike one against click theory.
The researchers then gave the mice cognitively simple or difficult tasks and compared their reactions when the anterior window was turned off. A mouse can usually perform both simple and difficult tasks. But when the researchers turned off the front windows, the mice were unable to perform the difficult task.
Wondering if the findings had any relevance for humans, Dr. Mathur asked his colleagues David Seminowicz, Ph.D., professor of neurological and pain sciences at UM Dental School, and Fred Barrett, associate professor at the same university. collaborated with Dr. Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Three people organized a study to perform functional MRI brain scans on healthy volunteers engaged in simple or complex mental tasks.
The researchers observed that the front windows “lighted up” only when they performed a difficult version of the task. This event coincided with the activation of intracortical networks involved in optimal cognitive performance. It’s his second strike against Crick’s theory of consciousness.
Dr. Mathur said Strike 3 will be when additional experiments confirm the theory of anterior gate function. In doing so, Dr. Mathur and his colleagues are now trying to understand how the claustrum learns and adapts to coordinate networks within the cortex to support cognition.
“Understanding how the brain flexibly forms and coordinates these networks is essential to treating the cognitive decline that occurs in addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia,” says Mark T. Gladwin, M.D., said. Maryland, Baltimore, John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professors and his UMSOM Dean.
Dr. Mathur added, “Our hypothesis provides a much-needed conceptual framework for devising new therapeutic strategies.”
About this neuroscience research news
author: press office
sauce: University of Maryland
contact: Press Office – University of Maryland
image: Images credited to Brian Mathur of UMSOM
Original research: open access.
Maxwell B. Madden et al., “The Role of the Anterior Gate in Cognitive Control.” Trends in cognitive science
Role of the claustrum in cognitive control
- Modern neuroscience approaches have expanded investigations into the functional role of one of the most highly connected regions of the brain, the claustrum.
- Emerging data across rodent studies indicate that cataract is required for optimal cognitive performance and synchronizes distant cortical regions.
- Human whole-brain functional imaging data show that cataracts are activated during challenging versions of cognitive tasks and upon the emergence of task-positive cortical networks.
- We propose a functional role for cataracts in the instantiation of cortical networks underlying cognitive control.