How brain maintains activity balance
New York: Ever wondered how we constantly adjust and adapt our social behaviour in response to external stimuli? A mechanism in the brain automatically does that for us.
Maladjustment of this mechanism, called the E/I ratio, may result in inappropriate behaviour, finds the study.
"If this E/I balance is broken, it completely alters your perception of the world," said study co-author Massimo Scanziani, a professor of neurosciences at Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
"You will be less able to adjust and adapt appropriately to the range of stimulation in a normal day without being overwhelmed or completely oblivious.
"And E/I imbalances may be most easily noticed in social interactions because these interactions require such nuance and subtle adjusting," he added.
Researchers discovered the mechanism that involves processes that control whether a neuron relays information to other neurons or suppresses the transmission of information.
There is a constant ratio between the total amount of pro-firing stimulation that a neuron receives from the thousands of excitatory neurons that feed into it, and the total amount of red-light stop signalling that it receives from inhibitory neurons.
"Neurons in our brain drive by pushing the brake and the accelerator at the same time," said Scanziani.
"There is always a tug-of-war. It's weird but very clever. It allows the brain to exert very subtle control on our response to stimuli," he explained.
Scientists have also proposed that some neuro-degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's and Huntington's disease, may be associated with a shift in the E/I balance.
"Now that we know how this E/I balance is regulated in a normal brain, we can begin to understand what goes wrong in the diseased state.
"It paves the way for interventions that might restore the balance in the brain,” said lead author Minghan Xue from the University of California, San Diego.
In terms of clinical applications, the scientists said that neurological diseases such as autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia are believed to be a problem, at least in part, of the brain's ability to maintain an optimal E/I ratio.
The findings were published online in the journal Nature.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Will reality of AgustaWestland scam be revealed?
- Will reality of AgustaWestland scam be revealed? - Part II
- Will reality of AgustaWestland scam be revealed? - Part III
- Will reality of AgustaWestland scam be revealed? - Part IV
- Why is "Make in India" given more importance than people dying of hunger?
- This picture of an IAS officer has gone viral on social media - know why
- WBBSE 10th Madhyamik Pariksha Results 2016: Wbbse.org & wbresults.nic.in class 10th X Result 2016 West Bengal Board is likely to be announced on May 10, 2016
- Four months after Pathankot terror attack, bodies of 4 terrorists buried
- These five super-foods will help you lose weight in the summer!
- Chopper deal: No evidence to link politicians with AgustaWestland bribes, says Italian judge who delivered verdict