New study may provide clues to treating a variety of mental disorders

January 26th, 2011 - 6:22 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Jan 26 (ANI): A new study by the University of Missouri Brain Imaging Center (BIC) may provide researchers clues to treating a variety of mental disorders.

In an effort to understand abstract working memory, Nelson Cowan, director of the BIC, used magnetic resonance imaging to produce graphics that depict the structure and function of the brain during various mental tasks.

People use their abstract working memories to assign meaning when trying to recall facts.

Previous studies identified an area of the brain responsible for holding abstract working memory, although it was assumed by some researchers to hold only visual information.

At the BIC, Cowan found that this same part of the brain could hold auditory information as well. And that is why people think of Christmas when they hear ‘Jingle Bells’.”This research has given us better understanding of an area of the brain that may be affected in people with various learning disabilities, autism and schizophrenia,” he said.

“Recent research has shown that people with schizophrenia simply hold fewer items in their working memories, rather having an inability to disregard unimportant items, as previously thought. Thus, discovering more about working memory will enable scientists to better target schizophrenia, among other disorders,” he added.

The study will be published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. (ANI)

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