Study shows precuneus region in human, monkey brain is divided into 4 regions

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

WASHINGTON - The precuneus region in the brains of humans and monkeys, which was long thought to be a single structure, is actually divided into four distinct functional regions, a comparative functional anatomy study has found.

Co-led by scientists at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, the collaborative study examined patterns of connectivity to show that the humans and monkeys have highly similar brain networks preserved across evolution.

These areas were identified using “resting state” functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).

The results of these brief imaging sessions were comparable to definitive findings in monkeys examined microscopically.

The precuneus, which is located in the posterior portion of the brain’s medial wall, has traditionally received little attention in the neuroimaging and neuropsychological literatures.

But, recent functional neuroimaging studies have started to implicate the precuneus in a variety of high-level cognitive functions, including episodic memory, self-related processing, and aspects of consciousness.

“The findings confirm that higher order association areas in the brain have complex functional architectures which appear to be preserved and or expanded during the evolutionary process,” said study co-leader Dr. Michael P. Milham.

“The fMRI approaches provide a powerful tool for translational science, making comparative studies of the brain’s functional neuroanatomy studies across species possible,” he added.

The study has been published in PNAS. (ANI)

Filed under: Monkey

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