Science.gov

Sample records for human brain evolution

  1. Genetic basis of human brain evolution

    PubMed Central

    Vallender, Eric J.; Mekel-Bobrov, Nitzan; Lahn, Bruce T.

    2009-01-01

    Human evolution is characterized by a rapid increase in brain size and complexity. Decades of research have made important strides in identifying anatomical and physiological substrates underlying the unique features of the human brain. By contrast, it has become possible only very recently to examine the genetic basis of human brain evolution. Through comparative genomics, tantalizing insights regarding human brain evolution have emerged. The genetic changes that potentially underlie human brain evolution span a wide range from single nucleotide substitutions to large-scale structural alterations of the genome. Similarly, the functional consequences of these genetic changes vary greatly, including protein-sequence alterations, cis-regulatory changes and even the emergence of new genes and the extinction of existing ones. Here, we provide a general review of recent findings into the genetic basis of human brain evolution, highlight the most notable trends that have emerged and caution against overinterpretation of current data. PMID:18848363

  2. Brain evolution and human neuropsychology: the inferential brain hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Koscik, Timothy R; Tranel, Daniel

    2012-05-01

    Collaboration between human neuropsychology and comparative neuroscience has generated invaluable contributions to our understanding of human brain evolution and function. Further cross-talk between these disciplines has the potential to continue to revolutionize these fields. Modern neuroimaging methods could be applied in a comparative context, yielding exciting new data with the potential of providing insight into brain evolution. Conversely, incorporating an evolutionary base into the theoretical perspectives from which we approach human neuropsychology could lead to novel hypotheses and testable predictions. In the spirit of these objectives, we present here a new theoretical proposal, the Inferential Brain Hypothesis, whereby the human brain is thought to be characterized by a shift from perceptual processing to inferential computation, particularly within the social realm. This shift is believed to be a driving force for the evolution of the large human cortex. (JINS, 2012, 18, 394-401).

  3. Brain Evolution and Human Neuropsychology: The Inferential Brain Hypothesis

    PubMed Central

    Koscik, Timothy R.; Tranel, Daniel

    2013-01-01

    Collaboration between human neuropsychology and comparative neuroscience has generated invaluable contributions to our understanding of human brain evolution and function. Further cross-talk between these disciplines has the potential to continue to revolutionize these fields. Modern neuroimaging methods could be applied in a comparative context, yielding exciting new data with the potential of providing insight into brain evolution. Conversely, incorporating an evolutionary base into the theoretical perspectives from which we approach human neuropsychology could lead to novel hypotheses and testable predictions. In the spirit of these objectives, we present here a new theoretical proposal, the Inferential Brain Hypothesis, whereby the human brain is thought to be characterized by a shift from perceptual processing to inferential computation, particularly within the social realm. This shift is believed to be a driving force for the evolution of the large human cortex. PMID:22459075

  4. [Evolution of human brain and intelligence].

    PubMed

    Lakatos, László; Janka, Zoltán

    2008-07-30

    The biological evolution, including human evolution is mainly driven by environmental changes. Accidental genetic modifications and their innovative results make the successful adaptation possible. As we know the human evolution started 7-8 million years ago in the African savannah, where upright position and bipedalism were significantly advantageous. The main drive of improving manual actions and tool making could be to obtain more food. Our ancestor got more meat due to more successful hunting, resulting in more caloric intake, more protein and essential fatty acid in the meal. The nervous system uses disproportionally high level of energy, so better quality of food was a basic condition for the evolution of huge human brain. The size of human brain was tripled during 3.5 million years, it increased from the average of 450 cm3 of Australopithecinae to the average of 1350 cm3 of Homo sapiens. A genetic change in the system controlling gene expression could happen about 200 000 years ago, which influenced the development of nervous system, the sensorimotor function and learning ability for motor processes. The appearance and stabilisation of FOXP2 gene structure as feature of modern man coincided with the first presence and quick spread of Homo sapiens on the whole Earth. This genetic modification made opportunity for human language, as the basis of abrupt evolution of human intelligence. The brain region being responsible for human language is the left planum temporale, which is much larger in left hemisphere. This shows the most typical human brain asymmetry. In this case the anatomical asymmetry means a clearly defined functional asymmetry as well, where the brain hemispheres act differently. The preference in using hands, the lateralised using of tools resulted in the brain asymmetry, which is the precondition of human language and intelligence. However, it cannot be held anymore, that only humans make tools, because our closest relatives, the chimpanzees are

  5. Increased morphological asymmetry, evolvability and plasticity in human brain evolution

    PubMed Central

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Hopkins, William D.; Sherwood, Chet C.

    2013-01-01

    The study of hominin brain evolution relies mostly on evaluation of the endocranial morphology of fossil skulls. However, only some general features of external brain morphology are evident from endocasts, and many anatomical details can be difficult or impossible to examine. In this study, we use geometric morphometric techniques to evaluate inter- and intraspecific differences in cerebral morphology in a sample of in vivo magnetic resonance imaging scans of chimpanzees and humans, with special emphasis on the study of asymmetric variation. Our study reveals that chimpanzee–human differences in cerebral morphology are mainly symmetric; by contrast, there is continuity in asymmetric variation between species, with humans showing an increased range of variation. Moreover, asymmetric variation does not appear to be the result of allometric scaling at intraspecific levels, whereas symmetric changes exhibit very slight allometric effects within each species. Our results emphasize two key properties of brain evolution in the hominine clade: first, evolution of chimpanzee and human brains (and probably their last common ancestor and related species) is not strongly morphologically constrained, thus making their brains highly evolvable and responsive to selective pressures; second, chimpanzee and, especially, human brains show high levels of fluctuating asymmetry indicative of pronounced developmental plasticity. We infer that these two characteristics can have a role in human cognitive evolution. PMID:23615289

  6. Microscopic computation in human brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Wallace, R

    1995-04-01

    When human psychological performance is viewed in terms of cognitive modules, our species displays remarkable differences in computational power. Algorithmically simple computations are generally difficult to perform, whereas optimal routing or "Traveling Salesman" Problems (TSP) of far greater complexity are solved on an everyday basis. It is argued that even "simple" instances of TSP are not purely Euclidian problems in human computations, but involve emotional, autonomic, and cognitive constraints. They therefore require a level of parallel processing not possible in a macroscopic system to complete the algorithm within a brief period of time. A microscopic neurobiological model emphasizing the computational power of excited atoms within the neuronal membrane is presented as an alternative to classical connectionist approaches. The evolution of the system is viewed in terms of specific natural selection pressures driving satisfying computations toward global optimization. The relationship of microscopic computation to the nature of consciousness is examined, and possible mathematical models as a basis for simulation studies are briefly discussed.

  7. Evolution of the human brain: when bigger is better

    PubMed Central

    Hofman, Michel A.

    2014-01-01

    Comparative studies of the brain in mammals suggest that there are general architectural principles governing its growth and evolutionary development. We are beginning to understand the geometric, biophysical and energy constraints that have governed the evolution and functional organization of the brain and its underlying neuronal network. The object of this review is to present current perspectives on primate brain evolution, especially in humans, and to examine some hypothetical organizing principles that underlie the brain's complex organization. Some of the design principles and operational modes that underlie the information processing capacity of the cerebral cortex in primates will be explored. It is shown that the development of the cortex coordinates folding with connectivity in a way that produces smaller and faster brains, then otherwise would have been possible. In view of the central importance placed on brain evolution in explaining the success of our own species, one may wonder whether there are physical limits that constrain its processing power and evolutionary potential. It will be argued that at a brain size of about 3500 cm3, corresponding to a brain volume two to three times that of modern man, the brain seems to reach its maximum processing capacity. The larger the brain grows beyond this critical size, the less efficient it will become, thus limiting any improvement in cognitive power. PMID:24723857

  8. Transcriptomic insights into human brain evolution: acceleration, neutrality, heterochrony.

    PubMed

    Somel, Mehmet; Rohlfs, Rori; Liu, Xiling

    2014-12-01

    Primate brain transcriptome comparisons within the last 12 years have yielded interesting but contradictory observations on how the transcriptome evolves, and its adaptive role in human cognitive evolution. Since the human-chimpanzee common ancestor, the human prefrontal cortex transcriptome seems to have evolved more than that of the chimpanzee. But at the same time, most expression differences among species, especially those observed in adults, appear as consequences of neutral evolution at cis-regulatory sites. Adaptive expression changes in the human brain may be rare events involving timing shifts, or heterochrony, in specific neurodevelopmental processes. Disentangling adaptive and neutral expression changes, and associating these with human-specific features of the brain require improved methods, comparisons across more species, and further work on comparative development.

  9. Energetic and nutritional constraints on infant brain development: implications for brain expansion during human evolution.

    PubMed

    Cunnane, Stephen C; Crawford, Michael A

    2014-12-01

    The human brain confronts two major challenges during its development: (i) meeting a very high energy requirement, and (ii) reliably accessing an adequate dietary source of specific brain selective nutrients needed for its structure and function. Implicitly, these energetic and nutritional constraints to normal brain development today would also have been constraints on human brain evolution. The energetic constraint was solved in large measure by the evolution in hominins of a unique and significant layer of body fat on the fetus starting during the third trimester of gestation. By providing fatty acids for ketone production that are needed as brain fuel, this fat layer supports the brain's high energy needs well into childhood. This fat layer also contains an important reserve of the brain selective omega-3 fatty acid, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), not available in other primates. Foremost amongst the brain selective minerals are iodine and iron, with zinc, copper and selenium also being important. A shore-based diet, i.e., fish, molluscs, crustaceans, frogs, bird's eggs and aquatic plants, provides the richest known dietary sources of brain selective nutrients. Regular access to these foods by the early hominin lineage that evolved into humans would therefore have helped free the nutritional constraint on primate brain development and function. Inadequate dietary supply of brain selective nutrients still has a deleterious impact on human brain development on a global scale today, demonstrating the brain's ongoing vulnerability. The core of the shore-based paradigm of human brain evolution proposes that sustained access by certain groups of early Homo to freshwater and marine food resources would have helped surmount both the nutritional as well as the energetic constraints on mammalian brain development.

  10. The Evolution of Human Intelligence and the Coefficient of Additive Genetic Variance in Human Brain Size

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Miller, Geoffrey F.; Penke, Lars

    2007-01-01

    Most theories of human mental evolution assume that selection favored higher intelligence and larger brains, which should have reduced genetic variance in both. However, adult human intelligence remains highly heritable, and is genetically correlated with brain size. This conflict might be resolved by estimating the coefficient of additive genetic…

  11. The Evolution of Brains from Early Mammals to Humans.

    PubMed

    Kaas, Jon H

    2013-01-01

    The large size and complex organization of the human brain makes it unique among primate brains. In particular, the neocortex constitutes about 80% of the brain, and this cortex is subdivided into a large number of functionally specialized regions, the cortical areas. Such a brain mediates accomplishments and abilities unmatched by any other species. How did such a brain evolve? Answers come from comparative studies of the brains of present-day mammals and other vertebrates in conjunction with information about brain sizes and shapes from the fossil record, studies of brain development, and principles derived from studies of scaling and optimal design. Early mammals were small, with small brains, an emphasis on olfaction, and little neocortex. Neocortex was transformed from the single layer of output pyramidal neurons of the dorsal cortex of earlier ancestors to the six layers of all present-day mammals. This small cap of neocortex was divided into 20-25 cortical areas, including primary and some of the secondary sensory areas that characterize neocortex in nearly all mammals today. Early placental mammals had a corpus callosum connecting the neocortex of the two hemispheres, a primary motor area, M1, and perhaps one or more premotor areas. One line of evolution, Euarchontoglires, led to present-day primates, tree shrews, flying lemurs, rodents and rabbits. Early primates evolved from small-brained, nocturnal, insect-eating mammals with an expanded region of temporal visual cortex. These early nocturnal primates were adapted to the fine branch niche of the tropical rainforest by having an even more expanded visual system that mediated visually guided reaching and grasping of insects, small vertebrates, and fruits. Neocortex was greatly expanded, and included an array of cortical areas that characterize neocortex of all living primates. Specializations of the visual system included new visual areas that contributed to a dorsal stream of visuomotor processing in a

  12. The Evolution of Brains from Early Mammals to Humans

    PubMed Central

    Kaas, Jon H.

    2012-01-01

    The large size and complex organization of the human brain makes it unique among primate brains. In particular, the neocortex constitutes about 80% of the brain, and this cortex is subdivided into a large number of functionally specialized regions, the cortical areas. Such a brain mediates accomplishments and abilities unmatched by any other species. How did such a brain evolve? Answers come from comparative studies of the brains of present-day mammals and other vertebrates in conjunction with information about brain sizes and shapes from the fossil record, studies of brain development, and principles derived from studies of scaling and optimal design. Early mammals were small, with small brains, an emphasis on olfaction, and little neocortex. Neocortex was transformed from the single layer of output pyramidal neurons of the dorsal cortex of earlier ancestors to the six layers of all present-day mammals. This small cap of neocortex was divided into 20–25 cortical areas, including primary and some of the secondary sensory areas that characterize neocortex in nearly all mammals today. Early placental mammals had a corpus callosum connecting the neocortex of the two hemispheres, a primary motor area, M1, and perhaps one or more premotor areas. One line of evolution, Euarchontoglires, led to present-day primates, tree shrews, flying lemurs, rodents and rabbits. Early primates evolved from small-brained, nocturnal, insect-eating mammals with an expanded region of temporal visual cortex. These early nocturnal primates were adapted to the fine branch niche of the tropical rainforest by having an even more expanded visual system that mediated visually guided reaching and grasping of insects, small vertebrates, and fruits. Neocortex was greatly expanded, and included an array of cortical areas that characterize neocortex of all living primates. Specializations of the visual system included new visual areas that contributed to a dorsal stream of visuomotor processing in a

  13. DUF1220 domains, cognitive disease, and human brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Dumas, L; Sikela, J M

    2009-01-01

    We have established that human genome sequences encoding a novel protein domain, DUF1220, show a dramatically elevated copy number in the human lineage (>200 copies in humans vs. 1 in mouse/rat) and may be important to human evolutionary adaptation. Copy-number variations (CNVs) in the 1q21.1 region, where most DUF1220 sequences map, have now been implicated in numerous diseases associated with cognitive dysfunction, including autism, autism spectrum disorder, mental retardation, schizophrenia, microcephaly, and macrocephaly. We report here that these disease-related 1q21.1 CNVs either encompass or are directly flanked by DUF1220 sequences and exhibit a dosage-related correlation with human brain size. Microcephaly-producing 1q21.1 CNVs are deletions, whereas macrocephaly-producing 1q21.1 CNVs are duplications. Similarly, 1q21.1 deletions and smaller brain size are linked with schizophrenia, whereas 1q21.1 duplications and larger brain size are associated with autism. Interestingly, these two diseases are thought to be phenotypic opposites. These data suggest a model which proposes that (1) DUF1220 domain copy number may be involved in influencing human brain size and (2) the evolutionary advantage of rapidly increasing DUF1220 copy number in the human lineage has resulted in favoring retention of the high genomic instability of the 1q21.1 region, which, in turn, has precipitated a spectrum of recurrent human brain and developmental disorders. PMID:19850849

  14. Human brain evolution: From gene discovery to phenotype discovery

    PubMed Central

    Preuss, Todd M.

    2012-01-01

    The rise of comparative genomics and related technologies has added important new dimensions to the study of human evolution. Our knowledge of the genes that underwent expression changes or were targets of positive selection in human evolution is rapidly increasing, as is our knowledge of gene duplications, translocations, and deletions. It is now clear that the genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees are far more extensive than previously thought; their genomes are not 98% or 99% identical. Despite the rapid growth in our understanding of the evolution of the human genome, our understanding of the relationship between genetic changes and phenotypic changes is tenuous. This is true even for the most intensively studied gene, FOXP2, which underwent positive selection in the human terminal lineage and is thought to have played an important role in the evolution of human speech and language. In part, the difficulty of connecting genes to phenotypes reflects our generally poor knowledge of human phenotypic specializations, as well as the difficulty of interpreting the consequences of genetic changes in species that are not amenable to invasive research. On the positive side, investigations of FOXP2, along with genomewide surveys of gene-expression changes and selection-driven sequence changes, offer the opportunity for “phenotype discovery,” providing clues to human phenotypic specializations that were previously unsuspected. What is more, at least some of the specializations that have been proposed are amenable to testing with noninvasive experimental techniques appropriate for the study of humans and apes. PMID:22723367

  15. DUF1220 Domains, Cognitive Disease, and Human Brain Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Dumas, L.; Sikela, J.M.

    2010-01-01

    We have established that human genome sequences encoding a novel protein domain, DUF1220, show a dramatically elevated copy number in the human lineage (>200 copies in humans vs. 1 in mouse/rat) and may be important to human evolutionary adaptation. Copy-number variations (CNVs) in the 1q21.1 region, where most DUF1220 sequences map, have now been implicated in numerous diseases associated with cognitive dysfunction, including autism, autism spectrum disorder, mental retardation, schizophrenia, microcephaly, and macrocephaly. Although the data are only correlative at this point, we report here that these disease-related 1q21.1 CNVs either encompass or are directly flanked by DUF1220 sequences and exhibit a dosage-related correlation with human brain size. Microcephaly-producing 1q21.1 CNVs are deletions, whereas macrocephaly-producing 1q21.1 CNVs are duplications. Similarly, 1q21.1 deletions and smaller brain size are linked with schizophrenia, whereas 1q21.1 duplications and larger brain size are associated with autism. Interestingly, these two diseases are thought to be phenotypic opposites. These data suggest a model which proposes that (1) DUF1220 domain copy number may be involved in influencing human brain size and (2) the evolutionary advantage of rapidly increasing DUF1220 copy number in the human lineage has resulted in favoring retention of the high genomic instability of the 1q21.1 region, which, in turn, has precipitated a spectrum of recurrent human brain and developmental disorders. PMID:19850849

  16. A hierarchical model of the evolution of human brain specializations

    PubMed Central

    Barrett, H. Clark

    2012-01-01

    The study of information-processing adaptations in the brain is controversial, in part because of disputes about the form such adaptations might take. Many psychologists assume that adaptations come in two kinds, specialized and general-purpose. Specialized mechanisms are typically thought of as innate, domain-specific, and isolated from other brain systems, whereas generalized mechanisms are developmentally plastic, domain-general, and interactive. However, if brain mechanisms evolve through processes of descent with modification, they are likely to be heterogeneous, rather than coming in just two kinds. They are likely to be hierarchically organized, with some design features widely shared across brain systems and others specific to particular processes. Also, they are likely to be largely developmentally plastic and interactive with other brain systems, rather than canalized and isolated. This article presents a hierarchical model of brain specialization, reviewing evidence for the model from evolutionary developmental biology, genetics, brain mapping, and comparative studies. Implications for the search for uniquely human traits are discussed, along with ways in which conventional views of modularity in psychology may need to be revised. PMID:22723350

  17. Evolution of human brain functions: the functional structure of human consciousness.

    PubMed

    Cloninger, C Robert

    2009-11-01

    The functional structure of self-aware consciousness in human beings is described based on the evolution of human brain functions. Prior work on heritable temperament and character traits is extended to account for the quantum-like and holographic properties (i.e. parts elicit wholes) of self-aware consciousness. Cladistic analysis is used to identify the succession of ancestors leading to human beings. The functional capacities that emerge along this lineage of ancestors are described. The ecological context in which each cladogenesis occurred is described to illustrate the shifting balance of evolution as a complex adaptive system. Comparative neuroanatomy is reviewed to identify the brain structures and networks that emerged coincident with the emergent brain functions. Individual differences in human temperament traits were well developed in the common ancestor shared by reptiles and humans. Neocortical development in mammals proceeded in five major transitions: from early reptiles to early mammals, early primates, simians, early Homo, and modern Homo sapiens. These transitions provide the foundation for human self-awareness related to sexuality, materiality, emotionality, intellectuality, and spirituality, respectively. The functional structure of human self-aware consciousness is concerned with the regulation of five planes of being: sexuality, materiality, emotionality, intellectuality, and spirituality. Each plane elaborates neocortical functions organized around one of the five special senses. The interactions among these five planes gives rise to a 5 x 5 matrix of subplanes, which are functions that coarsely describe the focus of neocortical regulation. Each of these 25 neocortical functions regulates each of five basic motives or drives that can be measured as temperaments or basic emotions related to fear, anger, disgust, surprise, and happiness/sadness. The resulting 5 x 5 x 5 matrix of human characteristics provides a general and testable model of the

  18. The evolution of distributed association networks in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Buckner, Randy L; Krienen, Fenna M

    2013-12-01

    The human cerebral cortex is vastly expanded relative to other primates and disproportionately occupied by distributed association regions. Here we offer a hypothesis about how association networks evolved their prominence and came to possess circuit properties vital to human cognition. The rapid expansion of the cortical mantle may have untethered large portions of the cortex from strong constraints of molecular gradients and early activity cascades that lead to sensory hierarchies. What fill the gaps between these hierarchies are densely interconnected networks that widely span the cortex and mature late into development. Limitations of the tethering hypothesis are discussed as well as its broad implications for understanding critical features of the human brain as a byproduct of size scaling.

  19. The Evolution of the Brain, the Human Nature of Cortical Circuits, and Intellectual Creativity

    PubMed Central

    DeFelipe, Javier

    2011-01-01

    The tremendous expansion and the differentiation of the neocortex constitute two major events in the evolution of the mammalian brain. The increase in size and complexity of our brains opened the way to a spectacular development of cognitive and mental skills. This expansion during evolution facilitated the addition of microcircuits with a similar basic structure, which increased the complexity of the human brain and contributed to its uniqueness. However, fundamental differences even exist between distinct mammalian species. Here, we shall discuss the issue of our humanity from a neurobiological and historical perspective. PMID:21647212

  20. Comparative Methylome Analyses Identify Epigenetic Regulatory Loci of Human Brain Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Mendizabal, Isabel; Shi, Lei; Keller, Thomas E.; Konopka, Genevieve; Preuss, Todd M.; Hsieh, Tzung-Fu; Hu, Enzhi; Zhang, Zhe; Su, Bing; Yi, Soojin V.

    2016-01-01

    How do epigenetic modifications change across species and how do these modifications affect evolution? These are fundamental questions at the forefront of our evolutionary epigenomic understanding. Our previous work investigated human and chimpanzee brain methylomes, but it was limited by the lack of outgroup data which is critical for comparative (epi)genomic studies. Here, we compared whole genome DNA methylation maps from brains of humans, chimpanzees and also rhesus macaques (outgroup) to elucidate DNA methylation changes during human brain evolution. Moreover, we validated that our approach is highly robust by further examining 38 human-specific DMRs using targeted deep genomic and bisulfite sequencing in an independent panel of 37 individuals from five primate species. Our unbiased genome-scan identified human brain differentially methylated regions (DMRs), irrespective of their associations with annotated genes. Remarkably, over half of the newly identified DMRs locate in intergenic regions or gene bodies. Nevertheless, their regulatory potential is on par with those of promoter DMRs. An intriguing observation is that DMRs are enriched in active chromatin loops, suggesting human-specific evolutionary remodeling at a higher-order chromatin structure. These findings indicate that there is substantial reprogramming of epigenomic landscapes during human brain evolution involving noncoding regions. PMID:27563052

  1. Neanderthal brain size at birth provides insights into the evolution of human life history

    PubMed Central

    Ponce de León, Marcia S.; Golovanova, Lubov; Doronichev, Vladimir; Romanova, Galina; Akazawa, Takeru; Kondo, Osamu; Ishida, Hajime; Zollikofer, Christoph P. E.

    2008-01-01

    From birth to adulthood, the human brain expands by a factor of 3.3, compared with 2.5 in chimpanzees [DeSilva J and Lesnik J (2006) Chimpanzee neonatal brain size: Implications for brain growth in Homo erectus. J Hum Evol 51: 207–212]. How the required extra amount of human brain growth is achieved and what its implications are for human life history and cognitive development are still a matter of debate. Likewise, because comparative fossil evidence is scarce, when and how the modern human pattern of brain growth arose during evolution is largely unknown. Virtual reconstructions of a Neanderthal neonate from Mezmaiskaya Cave (Russia) and of two Neanderthal infant skeletons from Dederiyeh Cave (Syria) now provide new comparative insights: Neanderthal brain size at birth was similar to that in recent Homo sapiens and most likely subject to similar obstetric constraints. Neanderthal brain growth rates during early infancy were higher, however. This pattern of growth resulted in larger adult brain sizes but not in earlier completion of brain growth. Because large brains growing at high rates require large, late-maturing, mothers [Leigh SR and Blomquist GE (2007) in Campbell CJ et al. Primates in perspective; pp 396–407], it is likely that Neanderthal life history was similarly slow, or even slower-paced, than in recent H. sapiens. PMID:18779579

  2. Human Development, Human Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Smillie, David

    One of the truly remarkable events in human evolution is the unprecedented increase in the size of the brain of "Homo" over a brief span of 2 million years. It would appear that some significant selective pressure or opportunity presented itself to this branch of the hominid line and caused a rapid increase in the brain, introducing a wholly new…

  3. Evolution, development, and plasticity of the human brain: from molecules to bones

    PubMed Central

    Hrvoj-Mihic, Branka; Bienvenu, Thibault; Stefanacci, Lisa; Muotri, Alysson R.; Semendeferi, Katerina

    2013-01-01

    Neuroanatomical, molecular, and paleontological evidence is examined in light of human brain evolution. The brain of extant humans differs from the brains of other primates in its overall size and organization, and differences in size and organization of specific cortical areas and subcortical structures implicated into complex cognition and social and emotional processing. The human brain is also characterized by functional lateralizations, reflecting specializations of the cerebral hemispheres in humans for different types of processing, facilitating fast and reliable communication between neural cells in an enlarged brain. The features observed in the adult brain reflect human-specific patterns of brain development. Compared to the brains of other primates, the human brain takes longer to mature, promoting an extended period for establishing cortical microcircuitry and its modifications. Together, these features may underlie the prolonged period of learning and acquisition of technical and social skills necessary for survival, creating a unique cognitive and behavioral niche typical of our species. The neuroanatomical findings are in concordance with molecular analyses, which suggest a trend toward heterochrony in the expression of genes implicated in different functions. These include synaptogenesis, neuronal maturation, and plasticity in humans, mutations in genes implicated in neurite outgrowth and plasticity, and an increased role of regulatory mechanisms, potentially promoting fast modification of neuronal morphologies in response to new computational demands. At the same time, endocranial casts of fossil hominins provide an insight into the timing of the emergence of uniquely human features in the course of evolution. We conclude by proposing several ways of combining comparative neuroanatomy, molecular biology and insights gained from fossil endocasts in future research. PMID:24194709

  4. Linking brains and brawn: exercise and the evolution of human neurobiology.

    PubMed

    Raichlen, David A; Polk, John D

    2013-01-01

    The hunting and gathering lifestyle adopted by human ancestors around 2 Ma required a large increase in aerobic activity. High levels of physical activity altered the shape of the human body, enabling access to new food resources (e.g. animal protein) in a changing environment. Recent experimental work provides strong evidence that both acute bouts of exercise and long-term exercise training increase the size of brain components and improve cognitive performance in humans and other taxa. However, to date, researchers have not explored the possibility that the increases in aerobic capacity and physical activity that occurred during human evolution directly influenced the human brain. Here, we hypothesize that proximate mechanisms linking physical activity and neurobiology in living species may help to explain changes in brain size and cognitive function during human evolution. We review evidence that selection acting on endurance increased baseline neurotrophin and growth factor signalling (compounds responsible for both brain growth and for metabolic regulation during exercise) in some mammals, which in turn led to increased overall brain growth and development. This hypothesis suggests that a significant portion of human neurobiology evolved due to selection acting on features unrelated to cognitive performance.

  5. Linking brains and brawn: exercise and the evolution of human neurobiology

    PubMed Central

    Raichlen, David A.; Polk, John D.

    2013-01-01

    The hunting and gathering lifestyle adopted by human ancestors around 2 Ma required a large increase in aerobic activity. High levels of physical activity altered the shape of the human body, enabling access to new food resources (e.g. animal protein) in a changing environment. Recent experimental work provides strong evidence that both acute bouts of exercise and long-term exercise training increase the size of brain components and improve cognitive performance in humans and other taxa. However, to date, researchers have not explored the possibility that the increases in aerobic capacity and physical activity that occurred during human evolution directly influenced the human brain. Here, we hypothesize that proximate mechanisms linking physical activity and neurobiology in living species may help to explain changes in brain size and cognitive function during human evolution. We review evidence that selection acting on endurance increased baseline neurotrophin and growth factor signalling (compounds responsible for both brain growth and for metabolic regulation during exercise) in some mammals, which in turn led to increased overall brain growth and development. This hypothesis suggests that a significant portion of human neurobiology evolved due to selection acting on features unrelated to cognitive performance. PMID:23173208

  6. Human Brain Expansion during Evolution Is Independent of Fire Control and Cooking.

    PubMed

    Cornélio, Alianda M; de Bittencourt-Navarrete, Ruben E; de Bittencourt Brum, Ricardo; Queiroz, Claudio M; Costa, Marcos R

    2016-01-01

    What makes humans unique? This question has fascinated scientists and philosophers for centuries and it is still a matter of intense debate. Nowadays, human brain expansion during evolution has been acknowledged to explain our empowered cognitive capabilities. The drivers for such accelerated expansion remain, however, largely unknown. In this sense, studies have suggested that the cooking of food could be a pre-requisite for the expansion of brain size in early hominins. However, this appealing hypothesis is only supported by a mathematical model suggesting that the increasing number of neurons in the brain would constrain body size among primates due to a limited amount of calories obtained from diets. Here, we show, by using a similar mathematical model, that a tradeoff between body mass and the number of brain neurons imposed by dietary constraints during hominin evolution is unlikely. Instead, the predictable number of neurons in the hominin brain varies much more in function of foraging efficiency than body mass. We also review archeological data to show that the expansion of the brain volume in the hominin lineage is described by a linear function independent of evidence of fire control, and therefore, thermal processing of food does not account for this phenomenon. Finally, we report experiments in mice showing that thermal processing of meat does not increase its caloric availability in mice. Altogether, our data indicate that cooking is neither sufficient nor necessary to explain hominin brain expansion. PMID:27199631

  7. Human Brain Expansion during Evolution Is Independent of Fire Control and Cooking

    PubMed Central

    Cornélio, Alianda M.; de Bittencourt-Navarrete, Ruben E.; de Bittencourt Brum, Ricardo; Queiroz, Claudio M.; Costa, Marcos R.

    2016-01-01

    What makes humans unique? This question has fascinated scientists and philosophers for centuries and it is still a matter of intense debate. Nowadays, human brain expansion during evolution has been acknowledged to explain our empowered cognitive capabilities. The drivers for such accelerated expansion remain, however, largely unknown. In this sense, studies have suggested that the cooking of food could be a pre-requisite for the expansion of brain size in early hominins. However, this appealing hypothesis is only supported by a mathematical model suggesting that the increasing number of neurons in the brain would constrain body size among primates due to a limited amount of calories obtained from diets. Here, we show, by using a similar mathematical model, that a tradeoff between body mass and the number of brain neurons imposed by dietary constraints during hominin evolution is unlikely. Instead, the predictable number of neurons in the hominin brain varies much more in function of foraging efficiency than body mass. We also review archeological data to show that the expansion of the brain volume in the hominin lineage is described by a linear function independent of evidence of fire control, and therefore, thermal processing of food does not account for this phenomenon. Finally, we report experiments in mice showing that thermal processing of meat does not increase its caloric availability in mice. Altogether, our data indicate that cooking is neither sufficient nor necessary to explain hominin brain expansion. PMID:27199631

  8. Metabolic acceleration and the evolution of human brain size and life history.

    PubMed

    Pontzer, Herman; Brown, Mary H; Raichlen, David A; Dunsworth, Holly; Hare, Brian; Walker, Kara; Luke, Amy; Dugas, Lara R; Durazo-Arvizu, Ramon; Schoeller, Dale; Plange-Rhule, Jacob; Bovet, Pascal; Forrester, Terrence E; Lambert, Estelle V; Thompson, Melissa Emery; Shumaker, Robert W; Ross, Stephen R

    2016-05-19

    Humans are distinguished from the other living apes in having larger brains and an unusual life history that combines high reproductive output with slow childhood growth and exceptional longevity. This suite of derived traits suggests major changes in energy expenditure and allocation in the human lineage, but direct measures of human and ape metabolism are needed to compare evolved energy strategies among hominoids. Here we used doubly labelled water measurements of total energy expenditure (TEE; kcal day(-1)) in humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans to test the hypothesis that the human lineage has experienced an acceleration in metabolic rate, providing energy for larger brains and faster reproduction without sacrificing maintenance and longevity. In multivariate regressions including body size and physical activity, human TEE exceeded that of chimpanzees and bonobos, gorillas and orangutans by approximately 400, 635 and 820 kcal day(-1), respectively, readily accommodating the cost of humans' greater brain size and reproductive output. Much of the increase in TEE is attributable to humans' greater basal metabolic rate (kcal day(-1)), indicating increased organ metabolic activity. Humans also had the greatest body fat percentage. An increased metabolic rate, along with changes in energy allocation, was crucial in the evolution of human brain size and life history. PMID:27144364

  9. Metabolic acceleration and the evolution of human brain size and life history

    PubMed Central

    Pontzer, Herman; Brown, Mary H.; Raichlen, David A.; Dunsworth, Holly; Hare, Brian; Walker, Kara; Luke, Amy; Dugas, Lara R.; Durazo-Arvizu, Ramon; Schoeller, Dale; Plange-Rhule, Jacob; Bovet, Pascal; Forrester, Terrence E.; Lambert, Estelle V.; Thompson, Melissa Emery; Shumaker, Robert W.; Ross, Stephen R.

    2016-01-01

    Humans are distinguished from the other living apes in having larger brains and an unusual life history that combines high reproductive output with slow childhood growth and exceptional longevity1. This suite of derived traits suggests major changes in energy expenditure and allocation in the human lineage, but direct measures of human and ape metabolism are needed to compare evolved energy strategies among hominoids. Here we used doubly labelled water measurements of total energy expenditure (TEE; kcal day−1) in humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans to test the hypothesis that the human lineage has experienced an acceleration in metabolic rate, providing energy for larger brains and faster reproduction without sacrificing maintenance and longevity. In multivariate regressions including body size and physical activity, human TEE exceeded that of chimpanzees and bonobos, gorillas and orangutans by approximately 400, 635 and 820 kcal day−1, respectively, readily accommodating the cost of humans' greater brain size and reproductive output. Much of the increase in TEE is attributable to humans' greater basal metabolic rate (kcal day−1), indicating increased organ metabolic activity. Humans also had the greatest body fat percentage. An increased metabolic rate, along with changes in energy allocation, was crucial in the evolution of human brain size and life history. PMID:27144364

  10. Metabolic acceleration and the evolution of human brain size and life history.

    PubMed

    Pontzer, Herman; Brown, Mary H; Raichlen, David A; Dunsworth, Holly; Hare, Brian; Walker, Kara; Luke, Amy; Dugas, Lara R; Durazo-Arvizu, Ramon; Schoeller, Dale; Plange-Rhule, Jacob; Bovet, Pascal; Forrester, Terrence E; Lambert, Estelle V; Thompson, Melissa Emery; Shumaker, Robert W; Ross, Stephen R

    2016-05-04

    Humans are distinguished from the other living apes in having larger brains and an unusual life history that combines high reproductive output with slow childhood growth and exceptional longevity. This suite of derived traits suggests major changes in energy expenditure and allocation in the human lineage, but direct measures of human and ape metabolism are needed to compare evolved energy strategies among hominoids. Here we used doubly labelled water measurements of total energy expenditure (TEE; kcal day(-1)) in humans, chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans to test the hypothesis that the human lineage has experienced an acceleration in metabolic rate, providing energy for larger brains and faster reproduction without sacrificing maintenance and longevity. In multivariate regressions including body size and physical activity, human TEE exceeded that of chimpanzees and bonobos, gorillas and orangutans by approximately 400, 635 and 820 kcal day(-1), respectively, readily accommodating the cost of humans' greater brain size and reproductive output. Much of the increase in TEE is attributable to humans' greater basal metabolic rate (kcal day(-1)), indicating increased organ metabolic activity. Humans also had the greatest body fat percentage. An increased metabolic rate, along with changes in energy allocation, was crucial in the evolution of human brain size and life history.

  11. The significance of the subplate for evolution and developmental plasticity of the human brain.

    PubMed

    Judaš, Miloš; Sedmak, Goran; Kostović, Ivica

    2013-01-01

    The human life-history is characterized by long development and introduction of new developmental stages, such as childhood and adolescence. The developing brain had important role in these life-history changes because it is expensive tissue which uses up to 80% of resting metabolic rate (RMR) in the newborn and continues to use almost 50% of it during the first 5 postnatal years. Our hominid ancestors managed to lift-up metabolic constraints to increase in brain size by several interrelated ecological, behavioral and social adaptations, such as dietary change, invention of cooking, creation of family-bonded reproductive units, and life-history changes. This opened new vistas for the developing brain, because it became possible to metabolically support transient patterns of brain organization as well as developmental brain plasticity for much longer period and with much greater number of neurons and connectivity combinations in comparison to apes. This included the shaping of cortical connections through the interaction with infant's social environment, which probably enhanced typically human evolution of language, cognition and self-awareness. In this review, we propose that the transient subplate zone and its postnatal remnant (interstitial neurons of the gyral white matter) probably served as the main playground for evolution of these developmental shifts, and describe various features that makes human subplate uniquely positioned to have such a role in comparison with other primates.

  12. Plausible mechanisms for brain structural and size changes in human evolution.

    PubMed

    Blazek, Vladimir; Brùzek, Jaroslav; Casanova, Manuel F

    2011-09-01

    Encephalization has many contexts and implications. On one hand, it is concerned with the transformation of eating habits, social relationships and communication, cognitive skills and the mind. Along with the increase in brain size on the other hand, encephalization is connected with the creation of more complex brain structures, namely in the cerebral cortex. It is imperative to inquire into the mechanisms which are linked with brain growth and to find out which of these mechanisms allow it and determine it. There exist a number of theories for understanding human brain evolution which originate from neurological sciences. These theories are the concept of radial units, minicolumns, mirror neurons, and neurocognitive networks. Over the course of evolution, it is evident that a whole range of changes have taken place in regards to heredity. These changes include new mutations of genes in the microcephalin complex, gene duplications, gene co-expression, and genomic imprinting. This complex study of the growth and reorganization of the brain and the functioning of hereditary factors and their external influences creates an opportunity to consider the implications of cultural evolution and cognitive faculties.

  13. Comparative genetic approaches to the evolution of human brain and behavior

    PubMed Central

    Vallender, Eric J.

    2012-01-01

    With advances in genomic technologies the amount of genetic data available to scientists today is vast. Genomes are now available or planned for fourteen different primate species and complete resequencing of numerous human individuals from numerous populations is underway. Moreover, high-throughput deep sequencing is quickly making whole genome efforts within the reach of single laboratories allowing for unprecedented studies. Comparative genetic approaches to the identification of the underlying basis of human brain, behavior and cognitive ability are moving to the forefront. Two approaches predominate: inter-species divergence comparisons and intra-species polymorphism studies. These methodological differences are useful for different time scales of evolution and necessarily focus on different evolutionary events in the history of primate and hominin evolution. Inter-species divergence is more useful in studying large scale primate, or hominoid, evolution whereas intra-species polymorphism can be more illuminating of recent hominin evolution. These differences in methodological utility also extend to studies of differing genetic substrates; current divergence studies focus primarily on protein evolution while polymorphism studies are substrate ambivalent. Some of the issues inherent in these studies can be ameliorated by current sequencing capabilities while others remain intractable. New avenues are also being opened that allow for the incorporation of novel substrates and approaches. In the post-genomic era the study of human evolution, specifically as it relates to the brain, is becoming more complete focusing increasingly on the totality of the system and better conceptualizing the entirety of the genetic changes that have lead to the human phenotype today. PMID:21140466

  14. Should Alzheimer's disease be equated with human brain ageing? A maladaptive interaction between brain evolution and senescence.

    PubMed

    Neill, David

    2012-01-01

    In this review Alzheimer's disease is seen as a maladaptive interaction between human brain evolution and senescence. It is predicted to occur in everyone although does not necessarily lead to dementia. The pathological process is initiated in relation to a senescence mediated functional down-regulation in the posteromedial cortex (Initiation Phase). This leads to a loss of glutamatergic excitatory input to layer II entorhinal cortex neurons. A human specific maladaptive neuroplastic response is initiated in these neurons leading to neuronal dysfunction, NFT formation and death. This leads to further loss of glutamatergic excitatory input and propagation of the maladaptive response along excitatory pathways linking evolutionary progressed vulnerable neurons (Propagation Phase). Eventually neurons are affected in many brain areas resulting in dementia. Possible therapeutic approaches include enhancing glutamatergic transmission. The theory may have implications with regards to how Alzheimer's disease is classified.

  15. Fossil skulls reveal that blood flow rate to the brain increased faster than brain volume during human evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seymour, Roger S.; Bosiocic, Vanya; Snelling, Edward P.

    2016-08-01

    The evolution of human cognition has been inferred from anthropological discoveries and estimates of brain size from fossil skulls. A more direct measure of cognition would be cerebral metabolic rate, which is proportional to cerebral blood flow rate (perfusion). The hominin cerebrum is supplied almost exclusively by the internal carotid arteries. The sizes of the foramina that transmitted these vessels in life can be measured in hominin fossil skulls and used to calculate cerebral perfusion rate. Perfusion in 11 species of hominin ancestors, from Australopithecus to archaic Homo sapiens, increases disproportionately when scaled against brain volume (the allometric exponent is 1.41). The high exponent indicates an increase in the metabolic intensity of cerebral tissue in later Homo species, rather than remaining constant (1.0) as expected by a linear increase in neuron number, or decreasing according to Kleiber's Law (0.75). During 3 Myr of hominin evolution, cerebral tissue perfusion increased 1.7-fold, which, when multiplied by a 3.5-fold increase in brain size, indicates a 6.0-fold increase in total cerebral blood flow rate. This is probably associated with increased interneuron connectivity, synaptic activity and cognitive function, which all ultimately depend on cerebral metabolic rate.

  16. Brain evolution by brain pathway duplication.

    PubMed

    Chakraborty, Mukta; Jarvis, Erich D

    2015-12-19

    Understanding the mechanisms of evolution of brain pathways for complex behaviours is still in its infancy. Making further advances requires a deeper understanding of brain homologies, novelties and analogies. It also requires an understanding of how adaptive genetic modifications lead to restructuring of the brain. Recent advances in genomic and molecular biology techniques applied to brain research have provided exciting insights into how complex behaviours are shaped by selection of novel brain pathways and functions of the nervous system. Here, we review and further develop some insights to a new hypothesis on one mechanism that may contribute to nervous system evolution, in particular by brain pathway duplication. Like gene duplication, we propose that whole brain pathways can duplicate and the duplicated pathway diverge to take on new functions. We suggest that one mechanism of brain pathway duplication could be through gene duplication, although other mechanisms are possible. We focus on brain pathways for vocal learning and spoken language in song-learning birds and humans as example systems. This view presents a new framework for future research in our understanding of brain evolution and novel behavioural traits.

  17. Brain evolution by brain pathway duplication

    PubMed Central

    Chakraborty, Mukta; Jarvis, Erich D.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the mechanisms of evolution of brain pathways for complex behaviours is still in its infancy. Making further advances requires a deeper understanding of brain homologies, novelties and analogies. It also requires an understanding of how adaptive genetic modifications lead to restructuring of the brain. Recent advances in genomic and molecular biology techniques applied to brain research have provided exciting insights into how complex behaviours are shaped by selection of novel brain pathways and functions of the nervous system. Here, we review and further develop some insights to a new hypothesis on one mechanism that may contribute to nervous system evolution, in particular by brain pathway duplication. Like gene duplication, we propose that whole brain pathways can duplicate and the duplicated pathway diverge to take on new functions. We suggest that one mechanism of brain pathway duplication could be through gene duplication, although other mechanisms are possible. We focus on brain pathways for vocal learning and spoken language in song-learning birds and humans as example systems. This view presents a new framework for future research in our understanding of brain evolution and novel behavioural traits. PMID:26554045

  18. Brain evolution by brain pathway duplication.

    PubMed

    Chakraborty, Mukta; Jarvis, Erich D

    2015-12-19

    Understanding the mechanisms of evolution of brain pathways for complex behaviours is still in its infancy. Making further advances requires a deeper understanding of brain homologies, novelties and analogies. It also requires an understanding of how adaptive genetic modifications lead to restructuring of the brain. Recent advances in genomic and molecular biology techniques applied to brain research have provided exciting insights into how complex behaviours are shaped by selection of novel brain pathways and functions of the nervous system. Here, we review and further develop some insights to a new hypothesis on one mechanism that may contribute to nervous system evolution, in particular by brain pathway duplication. Like gene duplication, we propose that whole brain pathways can duplicate and the duplicated pathway diverge to take on new functions. We suggest that one mechanism of brain pathway duplication could be through gene duplication, although other mechanisms are possible. We focus on brain pathways for vocal learning and spoken language in song-learning birds and humans as example systems. This view presents a new framework for future research in our understanding of brain evolution and novel behavioural traits. PMID:26554045

  19. Organization and evolution of brain lipidome revealed by large-scale analysis of human, chimpanzee, macaque, and mouse tissues.

    PubMed

    Bozek, Katarzyna; Wei, Yuning; Yan, Zheng; Liu, Xiling; Xiong, Jieyi; Sugimoto, Masahiro; Tomita, Masaru; Pääbo, Svante; Sherwood, Chet C; Hof, Patrick R; Ely, John J; Li, Yan; Steinhauser, Dirk; Willmitzer, Lothar; Giavalisco, Patrick; Khaitovich, Philipp

    2015-02-18

    Lipids are prominent components of the nervous system. Here we performed a large-scale mass spectrometry-based analysis of the lipid composition of three brain regions as well as kidney and skeletal muscle of humans, chimpanzees, rhesus macaques, and mice. The human brain shows the most distinct lipid composition: 76% of 5,713 lipid compounds examined in our study are either enriched or depleted in the human brain. Concentration levels of lipids enriched in the brain evolve approximately four times faster among primates compared with lipids characteristic of non-neural tissues and show further acceleration of change in human neocortical regions but not in the cerebellum. Human-specific concentration changes are supported by human-specific expression changes for corresponding enzymes. These results provide the first insights into the role of lipids in human brain evolution.

  20. Organization and evolution of brain lipidome revealed by large-scale analysis of human, chimpanzee, macaque, and mouse tissues.

    PubMed

    Bozek, Katarzyna; Wei, Yuning; Yan, Zheng; Liu, Xiling; Xiong, Jieyi; Sugimoto, Masahiro; Tomita, Masaru; Pääbo, Svante; Sherwood, Chet C; Hof, Patrick R; Ely, John J; Li, Yan; Steinhauser, Dirk; Willmitzer, Lothar; Giavalisco, Patrick; Khaitovich, Philipp

    2015-02-18

    Lipids are prominent components of the nervous system. Here we performed a large-scale mass spectrometry-based analysis of the lipid composition of three brain regions as well as kidney and skeletal muscle of humans, chimpanzees, rhesus macaques, and mice. The human brain shows the most distinct lipid composition: 76% of 5,713 lipid compounds examined in our study are either enriched or depleted in the human brain. Concentration levels of lipids enriched in the brain evolve approximately four times faster among primates compared with lipids characteristic of non-neural tissues and show further acceleration of change in human neocortical regions but not in the cerebellum. Human-specific concentration changes are supported by human-specific expression changes for corresponding enzymes. These results provide the first insights into the role of lipids in human brain evolution. PMID:25661180

  1. Metabolism as a tool for understanding human brain evolution: lipid energy metabolism as an example.

    PubMed

    Wang, Shu Pei; Yang, Hao; Wu, Jiang Wei; Gauthier, Nicolas; Fukao, Toshiyuki; Mitchell, Grant A

    2014-12-01

    Genes and the environment both influence the metabolic processes that determine fitness. To illustrate the importance of metabolism for human brain evolution and health, we use the example of lipid energy metabolism, i.e. the use of fat (lipid) to produce energy and the advantages that this metabolic pathway provides for the brain during environmental energy shortage. We briefly describe some features of metabolism in ancestral organisms, which provided a molecular toolkit for later development. In modern humans, lipid energy metabolism is a regulated multi-organ pathway that links triglycerides in fat tissue to the mitochondria of many tissues including the brain. Three important control points are each suppressed by insulin. (1) Lipid reserves in adipose tissue are released by lipolysis during fasting and stress, producing fatty acids (FAs) which circulate in the blood and are taken up by cells. (2) FA oxidation. Mitochondrial entry is controlled by carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1 (CPT1). Inside the mitochondria, FAs undergo beta oxidation and energy production in the Krebs cycle and respiratory chain. (3) In liver mitochondria, the 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) pathway produces ketone bodies for the brain and other organs. Unlike most tissues, the brain does not capture and metabolize circulating FAs for energy production. However, the brain can use ketone bodies for energy. We discuss two examples of genetic metabolic traits that may be advantageous under most conditions but deleterious in others. (1) A CPT1A variant prevalent in Inuit people may allow increased FA oxidation under nonfasting conditions but also predispose to hypoglycemic episodes. (2) The thrifty genotype theory, which holds that energy expenditure is efficient so as to maximize energy stores, predicts that these adaptations may enhance survival in periods of famine but predispose to obesity in modern dietary environments.

  2. Orbital Dynamics, Environmental Heterogeneity, and the Evolution of the Human Brain

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Grove, Matt

    2012-01-01

    Many explanations have been proposed for the evolution of our anomalously large brains, including social, ecological, and epiphenomenal hypotheses. Recently, an additional hypothesis has emerged, suggesting that advanced cognition and, by inference, increases in brain size, have been driven over evolutionary time by the need to deal with…

  3. Adaptive evolution of interleukin-3 (IL3), a gene associated with brain volume variation in general human populations.

    PubMed

    Li, Ming; Huang, Liang; Li, Kaiqin; Huo, Yongxia; Chen, Chunhui; Wang, Jinkai; Liu, Jiewei; Luo, Zhenwu; Chen, Chuansheng; Dong, Qi; Yao, Yong-gang; Su, Bing; Luo, Xiong-jian

    2016-04-01

    Greatly expanded brain volume is one of the most characteristic traits that distinguish humans from other primates. Recent studies have revealed genes responsible for the dramatically enlarged human brain size (i.e., the microcephaly genes), and it has been well documented that many microcephaly genes have undergone accelerated evolution along the human lineage. In addition to being far larger than other primates, human brain volume is also highly variable in general populations. However, the genetic basis underlying human brain volume variation remains elusive and it is not known whether genes regulating human brain volume variation also have experienced positive selection. We have previously shown that genetic variants (near the IL3 gene) on 5q33 were significantly associated with brain volume in Chinese population. Here, we provide further evidence that support the significant association of genetic variants on 5q33 with brain volume. Bioinformatic analyses suggested that rs31480 is likely to be the causal variant among the studied SNPs. Molecular evolutionary analyses suggested that IL3 might have undergone positive selection in primates and humans. Neutrality tests further revealed signatures of positive selection of IL3 in Han Chinese and Europeans. Finally, extended haplotype homozygosity (EHH) and relative EHH analyses showed that the C allele of SNP rs31480 might have experienced recent positive selection in Han Chinese. Our results suggest that IL3 is an important genetic regulator for human brain volume variation and implied that IL3 might have experienced weak or modest positive selection in the evolutionary history of humans, which may be due to its contribution to human brain volume.

  4. Fire Control and Human Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Russell, Claire

    1978-01-01

    Briefly outlines some aspects of the discovery of fire control by primitive people, such as the preadaptation for speech, the evolution of the human brain, and natural selection for human nakedness or loss of hair. (CS)

  5. Human evolution.

    PubMed

    Wood, B

    1996-12-01

    The common ancestor of modern humans and the great apes is estimated to have lived between 5 and 8 Myrs ago, but the earliest evidence in the human, or hominid, fossil record is Ardipithecus ramidus, from a 4.5 Myr Ethiopian site. This genus was succeeded by Australopithecus, within which four species are presently recognised. All combine a relatively primitive postcranial skeleton, a dentition with expanded chewing teeth and a small brain. The most primitive species in our own genus, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, are little advanced over the australopithecines and with hindsight their inclusion in Homo may not be appropriate. The first species to share a substantial number of features with later Homo is Homo ergaster, or 'early African Homo erectus', which appears in the fossil record around 2.0 Myr. Outside Africa, fossil hominids appear as Homo erectus-like hominids, in mainland Asia and in Indonesia close to 2 Myr ago; the earliest good evidence of 'archaic Homo' in Europe is dated at between 600-700 Kyr before the present. Anatomically modern human, or Homo sapiens, fossils are seen first in the fossil record in Africa around 150 Kyr ago. Taken together with molecular evidence on the extent of DNA variation, this suggests that the transition from 'archaic' to 'modern' Homo may have taken place in Africa. PMID:8976151

  6. Human evolution.

    PubMed

    Wood, B

    1996-12-01

    The common ancestor of modern humans and the great apes is estimated to have lived between 5 and 8 Myrs ago, but the earliest evidence in the human, or hominid, fossil record is Ardipithecus ramidus, from a 4.5 Myr Ethiopian site. This genus was succeeded by Australopithecus, within which four species are presently recognised. All combine a relatively primitive postcranial skeleton, a dentition with expanded chewing teeth and a small brain. The most primitive species in our own genus, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, are little advanced over the australopithecines and with hindsight their inclusion in Homo may not be appropriate. The first species to share a substantial number of features with later Homo is Homo ergaster, or 'early African Homo erectus', which appears in the fossil record around 2.0 Myr. Outside Africa, fossil hominids appear as Homo erectus-like hominids, in mainland Asia and in Indonesia close to 2 Myr ago; the earliest good evidence of 'archaic Homo' in Europe is dated at between 600-700 Kyr before the present. Anatomically modern human, or Homo sapiens, fossils are seen first in the fossil record in Africa around 150 Kyr ago. Taken together with molecular evidence on the extent of DNA variation, this suggests that the transition from 'archaic' to 'modern' Homo may have taken place in Africa.

  7. DUF1220-Domain Copy Number Implicated in Human Brain-Size Pathology and Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Dumas, Laura J.; O’Bleness, Majesta S.; Davis, Jonathan M.; Dickens, C. Michael; Anderson, Nathan; Keeney, J.G.; Jackson, Jay; Sikela, Megan; Raznahan, Armin; Giedd, Jay; Rapoport, Judith; Nagamani, Sandesh S.C.; Erez, Ayelet; Brunetti-Pierri, Nicola; Sugalski, Rachel; Lupski, James R.; Fingerlin, Tasha; Cheung, Sau Wai; Sikela, James M.

    2012-01-01

    DUF1220 domains show the largest human-lineage-specific increase in copy number of any protein-coding region in the human genome and map primarily to 1q21, where deletions and reciprocal duplications have been associated with microcephaly and macrocephaly, respectively. Given these findings and the high correlation between DUF1220 copy number and brain size across primate lineages (R2 = 0.98; p = 1.8 × 10−6), DUF1220 sequences represent plausible candidates for underlying 1q21-associated brain-size pathologies. To investigate this possibility, we used specialized bioinformatics tools developed for scoring highly duplicated DUF1220 sequences to implement targeted 1q21 array comparative genomic hybridization on individuals (n = 42) with 1q21-associated microcephaly and macrocephaly. We show that of all the 1q21 genes examined (n = 53), DUF1220 copy number shows the strongest association with brain size among individuals with 1q21-associated microcephaly, particularly with respect to the three evolutionarily conserved DUF1220 clades CON1(p = 0.0079), CON2 (p = 0.0134), and CON3 (p = 0.0116). Interestingly, all 1q21 DUF1220-encoding genes belonging to the NBPF family show significant correlations with frontal-occipital-circumference Z scores in the deletion group. In a similar survey of a nondisease population, we show that DUF1220 copy number exhibits the strongest correlation with brain gray-matter volume (CON1, p = 0.0246; and CON2, p = 0.0334). Notably, only DUF1220 sequences are consistently significant in both disease and nondisease populations. Taken together, these data strongly implicate the loss of DUF1220 copy number in the etiology of 1q21-associated microcephaly and support the view that DUF1220 domains function as general effectors of evolutionary, pathological, and normal variation in brain size. PMID:22901949

  8. DUF1220-domain copy number implicated in human brain-size pathology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Dumas, Laura J; O'Bleness, Majesta S; Davis, Jonathan M; Dickens, C Michael; Anderson, Nathan; Keeney, J G; Jackson, Jay; Sikela, Megan; Raznahan, Armin; Giedd, Jay; Rapoport, Judith; Nagamani, Sandesh S C; Erez, Ayelet; Brunetti-Pierri, Nicola; Sugalski, Rachel; Lupski, James R; Fingerlin, Tasha; Cheung, Sau Wai; Sikela, James M

    2012-09-01

    DUF1220 domains show the largest human-lineage-specific increase in copy number of any protein-coding region in the human genome and map primarily to 1q21, where deletions and reciprocal duplications have been associated with microcephaly and macrocephaly, respectively. Given these findings and the high correlation between DUF1220 copy number and brain size across primate lineages (R(2) = 0.98; p = 1.8 × 10(-6)), DUF1220 sequences represent plausible candidates for underlying 1q21-associated brain-size pathologies. To investigate this possibility, we used specialized bioinformatics tools developed for scoring highly duplicated DUF1220 sequences to implement targeted 1q21 array comparative genomic hybridization on individuals (n = 42) with 1q21-associated microcephaly and macrocephaly. We show that of all the 1q21 genes examined (n = 53), DUF1220 copy number shows the strongest association with brain size among individuals with 1q21-associated microcephaly, particularly with respect to the three evolutionarily conserved DUF1220 clades CON1(p = 0.0079), CON2 (p = 0.0134), and CON3 (p = 0.0116). Interestingly, all 1q21 DUF1220-encoding genes belonging to the NBPF family show significant correlations with frontal-occipital-circumference Z scores in the deletion group. In a similar survey of a nondisease population, we show that DUF1220 copy number exhibits the strongest correlation with brain gray-matter volume (CON1, p = 0.0246; and CON2, p = 0.0334). Notably, only DUF1220 sequences are consistently significant in both disease and nondisease populations. Taken together, these data strongly implicate the loss of DUF1220 copy number in the etiology of 1q21-associated microcephaly and support the view that DUF1220 domains function as general effectors of evolutionary, pathological, and normal variation in brain size. PMID:22901949

  9. What makes man human: thirty-ninth James Arthur lecture on the evolution of the human brain, 1970

    PubMed Central

    Pribram, Karl H

    2006-01-01

    What makes man human is his brain. This brain is obviously different from those of nonhuman primates. It is larger, shows hemispheric dominance and specialization, and is cytoarchitecturally somewhat more generalized. But are these the essential characteristics that determine the humanness of man? This paper cannot give an answer to this question for the answer is not known. But the problem can be stated more specifically, alternatives spelled out on the basis of available research results, and directions given for further inquiry. My theme will be that the human brain is so constructed that man, and only man, feels the thrust to make meaningful all his experiences and encounters. Development of this theme demands an analysis of the brain mechanisms that make meaning–and an attempt to define biologically the process of meaning. In this pursuit of meaning a fascinating variety of topics comes into focus: the coding and recoding operations of the brain; how it engenders and processes information and redundancy; and, how it makes possible signs and symbols and prepositional utterances. Of these, current research results indicate that only in the making of propositions is man unique–so here perhaps are to be found the keynotes that compose the theme. PMID:17132178

  10. BEND3 is involved in the human-specific repression of calreticulin: Implication for the evolution of higher brain functions in human.

    PubMed

    Aghajanirefah, A; Nguyen, L N; Ohadi, M

    2016-01-15

    Recent emerging evidence indicates that changes in gene expression levels are linked to human evolution. We have previously reported a human-specific nucleotide in the promoter sequence of the calreticulin (CALR) gene at position -220C, which is the site of action of valproic acid. Reversion of this nucleotide to the ancestral A-allele has been detected in patients with degrees of deficit in higher brain cognitive functions. This mutation has since been reported in the 1000 genomes database at an approximate frequency of <0.0004 in humans (rs138452745). In the study reported here, we present update on the status of rs138452745 across evolution, based on the Ensembl and NCBI databases. The DNA pulldown assay was also used to identify the proteins binding to the C- and A-alleles, using two cell lines, SK-N-BE and HeLa. Consistent with our previous findings, the C-allele is human-specific, and the A-allele is the rule across all other species (N=38). This nucleotide resides in a block of 12-nucleotides that is strictly conserved across evolution. The DNA pulldown experiments revealed that in both SK-N-BE and HeLa cells, the transcription repressor BEN domain containing 3 (BEND3) binds to the human-specific C-allele, whereas the nuclear factor I (NFI) family members, NF1A, B, C, and X, specifically bind to the ancestral A-allele. This binding pattern is consistent with a previously reported decreased promoter activity of the C-allele vs. the A-allele. We propose that there is a link between binding of BEND3 to the CALR rs138452745 C-allele and removal of NFI binding site from this nucleotide, and the evolution of human-specific higher brain functions. To our knowledge, CALR rs138452745 is the first instance of enormous nucleotide conservation across evolution, except in the human species.

  11. BEND3 is involved in the human-specific repression of calreticulin: Implication for the evolution of higher brain functions in human.

    PubMed

    Aghajanirefah, A; Nguyen, L N; Ohadi, M

    2016-01-15

    Recent emerging evidence indicates that changes in gene expression levels are linked to human evolution. We have previously reported a human-specific nucleotide in the promoter sequence of the calreticulin (CALR) gene at position -220C, which is the site of action of valproic acid. Reversion of this nucleotide to the ancestral A-allele has been detected in patients with degrees of deficit in higher brain cognitive functions. This mutation has since been reported in the 1000 genomes database at an approximate frequency of <0.0004 in humans (rs138452745). In the study reported here, we present update on the status of rs138452745 across evolution, based on the Ensembl and NCBI databases. The DNA pulldown assay was also used to identify the proteins binding to the C- and A-alleles, using two cell lines, SK-N-BE and HeLa. Consistent with our previous findings, the C-allele is human-specific, and the A-allele is the rule across all other species (N=38). This nucleotide resides in a block of 12-nucleotides that is strictly conserved across evolution. The DNA pulldown experiments revealed that in both SK-N-BE and HeLa cells, the transcription repressor BEN domain containing 3 (BEND3) binds to the human-specific C-allele, whereas the nuclear factor I (NFI) family members, NF1A, B, C, and X, specifically bind to the ancestral A-allele. This binding pattern is consistent with a previously reported decreased promoter activity of the C-allele vs. the A-allele. We propose that there is a link between binding of BEND3 to the CALR rs138452745 C-allele and removal of NFI binding site from this nucleotide, and the evolution of human-specific higher brain functions. To our knowledge, CALR rs138452745 is the first instance of enormous nucleotide conservation across evolution, except in the human species. PMID:26481236

  12. Can fat explain the human brain's big bang evolution?-Horrobin's leads for comparative and functional genomics.

    PubMed

    Erren, T C; Erren, M

    2004-04-01

    When David Horrobin suggested that phospholipid and fatty acid metabolism played a major role in human evolution, his 'fat utilization hypothesis' unified intriguing work from paleoanthropology, evolutionary biology, genetic and nervous system research in a novel and coherent lipid-related context. Interestingly, unlike most other evolutionary concepts, the hypothesis allows specific predictions which can be empirically tested in the near future. This paper summarizes some of Horrobin's intriguing propositions and suggests as to how approaches of comparative genomics published in Cell, Nature, Science and elsewhere since 1997 may be used to examine his evolutionary hypothesis. Indeed, systematic investigations of the genomic clock in the species' mitochondrial DNA, the Y and autosomal chromosomes as evidence of evolutionary relationships and distinctions can help to scrutinize associated predictions for their validity, namely that key mutations which differentiate us from Neanderthals and from great apes are in the genes coding for proteins which regulate fat metabolism, and particularly the phospholipid metabolism of the synapses of the brain. It is concluded that beyond clues to humans' relationships with living primates and to the Neanderthals' cognitive performance and their disappearance, the suggested molecular clock analyses may provide crucial insights into the biochemical evolution-and means of possible manipulation-of our brain.

  13. Evolution of Brain and Language

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schoenemann, P. Thomas

    2009-01-01

    The evolution of language and the evolution of the brain are tightly interlinked. Language evolution represents a special kind of adaptation, in part because language is a complex behavior (as opposed to a physical feature) but also because changes are adaptive only to the extent that they increase either one's understanding of others, or one's…

  14. Evolution of brain elaboration.

    PubMed

    Farris, Sarah M

    2015-12-19

    Large, complex brains have evolved independently in several lineages of protostomes and deuterostomes. Sensory centres in the brain increase in size and complexity in proportion to the importance of a particular sensory modality, yet often share circuit architecture because of constraints in processing sensory inputs. The selective pressures driving enlargement of higher, integrative brain centres has been more difficult to determine, and may differ across taxa. The capacity for flexible, innovative behaviours, including learning and memory and other cognitive abilities, is commonly observed in animals with large higher brain centres. Other factors, such as social grouping and interaction, appear to be important in a more limited range of taxa, while the importance of spatial learning may be a common feature in insects with large higher brain centres. Despite differences in the exact behaviours under selection, evolutionary increases in brain size tend to derive from common modifications in development and generate common architectural features, even when comparing widely divergent groups such as vertebrates and insects. These similarities may in part be influenced by the deep homology of the brains of all Bilateria, in which shared patterns of developmental gene expression give rise to positionally, and perhaps functionally, homologous domains. Other shared modifications of development appear to be the result of homoplasy, such as the repeated, independent expansion of neuroblast numbers through changes in genes regulating cell division. The common features of large brains in so many groups of animals suggest that given their common ancestry, a limited set of mechanisms exist for increasing structural and functional diversity, resulting in many instances of homoplasy in bilaterian nervous systems. PMID:26554044

  15. Triadic (ecological, neural, cognitive) niche construction: a scenario of human brain evolution extrapolating tool use and language from the control of reaching actions.

    PubMed

    Iriki, Atsushi; Taoka, Miki

    2012-01-12

    Hominin evolution has involved a continuous process of addition of new kinds of cognitive capacity, including those relating to manufacture and use of tools and to the establishment of linguistic faculties. The dramatic expansion of the brain that accompanied additions of new functional areas would have supported such continuous evolution. Extended brain functions would have driven rapid and drastic changes in the hominin ecological niche, which in turn demanded further brain resources to adapt to it. In this way, humans have constructed a novel niche in each of the ecological, cognitive and neural domains, whose interactions accelerated their individual evolution through a process of triadic niche construction. Human higher cognitive activity can therefore be viewed holistically as one component in a terrestrial ecosystem. The brain's functional characteristics seem to play a key role in this triadic interaction. We advance a speculative argument about the origins of its neurobiological mechanisms, as an extension (with wider scope) of the evolutionary principles of adaptive function in the animal nervous system. The brain mechanisms that subserve tool use may bridge the gap between gesture and language--the site of such integration seems to be the parietal and extending opercular cortices.

  16. Triadic (ecological, neural, cognitive) niche construction: a scenario of human brain evolution extrapolating tool use and language from the control of reaching actions

    PubMed Central

    Iriki, Atsushi; Taoka, Miki

    2012-01-01

    Hominin evolution has involved a continuous process of addition of new kinds of cognitive capacity, including those relating to manufacture and use of tools and to the establishment of linguistic faculties. The dramatic expansion of the brain that accompanied additions of new functional areas would have supported such continuous evolution. Extended brain functions would have driven rapid and drastic changes in the hominin ecological niche, which in turn demanded further brain resources to adapt to it. In this way, humans have constructed a novel niche in each of the ecological, cognitive and neural domains, whose interactions accelerated their individual evolution through a process of triadic niche construction. Human higher cognitive activity can therefore be viewed holistically as one component in a terrestrial ecosystem. The brain's functional characteristics seem to play a key role in this triadic interaction. We advance a speculative argument about the origins of its neurobiological mechanisms, as an extension (with wider scope) of the evolutionary principles of adaptive function in the animal nervous system. The brain mechanisms that subserve tool use may bridge the gap between gesture and language—the site of such integration seems to be the parietal and extending opercular cortices. PMID:22106423

  17. Evolution, brain, and the nature of language.

    PubMed

    Berwick, Robert C; Friederici, Angela D; Chomsky, Noam; Bolhuis, Johan J

    2013-02-01

    Language serves as a cornerstone for human cognition, yet much about its evolution remains puzzling. Recent research on this question parallels Darwin's attempt to explain both the unity of all species and their diversity. What has emerged from this research is that the unified nature of human language arises from a shared, species-specific computational ability. This ability has identifiable correlates in the brain and has remained fixed since the origin of language approximately 100 thousand years ago. Although songbirds share with humans a vocal imitation learning ability, with a similar underlying neural organization, language is uniquely human.

  18. On the space and time evolution of regular or irregular human heart or brain signals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tuncay, Ç.

    2009-01-01

    A coupled map is suggested to investigate various spatial or temporal designs in biology: several cells (or tissues) in an organ are considered as connected to each other in terms of some molecular diffusions or electrical potential differences and so on. The biological systems (groups of cells) start from various initial conditions for spatial designs (or initial signals for temporal designs) and they evolve in time in terms of the mentioned interactions (connections) besides some individual feedings. The basic aim of the present contribution is to mimic various empirical data for the heart (in normal, quasi-stable, unstable and post operative physiological conditions) or brain (regular or irregular; for epilepsy) signals. The mentioned empirical data are borrowed from various works in the literature which are cited. The suggested model (to be used besides or instead of the artificial network models) involves simple mathematics and the related software is easy. The results may be considered as in good agreement with the mentioned real signals.

  19. Has Human Evolution Stopped?

    PubMed Central

    Templeton, Alan R.

    2010-01-01

    It has been argued that human evolution has stopped because humans now adapt to their environment via cultural evolution and not biological evolution. However, all organisms adapt to their environment, and humans are no exception. Culture defines much of the human environment, so cultural evolution has actually led to adaptive evolution in humans. Examples are given to illustrate the rapid pace of adaptive evolution in response to cultural innovations. These adaptive responses have important implications for infectious diseases, Mendelian genetic diseases, and systemic diseases in current human populations. Moreover, evolution proceeds by mechanisms other than natural selection. The recent growth in human population size has greatly increased the reservoir of mutational variants in the human gene pool, thereby enhancing the potential for human evolution. The increase in human population size coupled with our increased capacity to move across the globe has induced a rapid and ongoing evolutionary shift in how genetic variation is distributed within and among local human populations. In particular, genetic differences between human populations are rapidly diminishing and individual heterozygosity is increasing, with beneficial health effects. Finally, even when cultural evolution eliminates selection on a trait, the trait can still evolve due to natural selection on other traits. Our traits are not isolated, independent units, but rather are integrated into a functional whole, so selection on one trait can cause evolution to occur on another trait, sometimes with mildly maladaptive consequences. PMID:23908778

  20. Comparative Analysis of Protocadherin-11 X-Linked Expression among Postnatal Rodents, Non-Human Primates, and Songbirds Suggests Its Possible Involvement in Brain Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Matsunaga, Eiji; Nambu, Sanae; Oka, Mariko; Okanoya, Kazuo; Iriki, Atsushi

    2013-01-01

    Background Protocadherin-11 is a cell adhesion molecule of the cadherin superfamily. Since, only in humans, its paralog is found on the Y chromosome, it is expected that protocadherin-11X/Y plays some role in human brain evolution or sex differences. Recently, a genetic mutation of protocadherin-11X/Y was reported to be associated with a language development disorder. Here, we compared the expression of protocadherin-11 X-linked in developing postnatal brains of mouse (rodent) and common marmoset (non-human primate) to explore its possible involvement in mammalian brain evolution. We also investigated its expression in the Bengalese finch (songbird) to explore a possible function in animal vocalization and human language faculties. Methodology/Principal Findings Protocadherin-11 X-linked was strongly expressed in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, amygdala and brainstem. Comparative analysis between mice and marmosets revealed that in certain areas of marmoset brain, the expression was clearly enriched. In Bengalese finches, protocadherin-11 X-linked was expressed not only in nuclei of regions of the vocal production pathway and the tracheosyringeal hypoglossal nucleus, but also in areas homologous to the mammalian amygdala and hippocampus. In both marmosets and Bengalese finches, its expression in pallial vocal control areas was developmentally regulated, and no clear expression was seen in the dorsal striatum, indicating a similarity between songbirds and non-human primates. Conclusions/Significance Our results suggest that the enriched expression of protocadherin-11 X-linked is involved in primate brain evolution and that some similarity exists between songbirds and primates regarding the neural basis for vocalization. PMID:23527036

  1. The evolution of the frontal lobes: a volumetric analysis based on three-dimensional reconstructions of magnetic resonance scans of human and ape brains.

    PubMed

    Semendeferi, K; Damasio, H; Frank, R; Van Hoesen, G W

    1997-04-01

    Scenarios regarding the evolution of cognitive function in hominids depend largely on our understanding of the organization of the frontal lobes in extant humans and apes. The frontal lobe is involved in functions such as creative thinking, planning of future actions, decision making, artistic expression, aspects of emotional behavior, as well as working memory, language and motor control. It is often claimed that the frontal lobe is disproportionately larger in humans than in other species, but conflicting reports exist on this issue. The brain of the apes in particular remains largely unknown. In this report we measure the volume of the frontal lobe as a whole and of its main sectors (including cortex and immediately underlying white matter) in living humans, and in post-mortem brains of the chimpanzee, gorilla, orang-utan, gibbon and the macaque using three-dimensional reconstructions of magnetic resonance (MR) scans of the brain. On the basis of these data we suggest that although the absolute volume of the brain and the frontal lobe is largest in humans, the relative size of the frontal lobe is similar across hominoids, and that humans do not have a larger frontal lobe than expected from a primate brain of the human size. We also report that the relative size of the sectors of the frontal lobe (dorsal, mesial, orbital) is similar across the primate species studied. Our conclusions are preliminary, because the size of our sample, although larger than in previous studies, still remains small. With this caveat we conclude that the overall volume of the frontal lobe in hominids enlarged in absolute size along with the rest of the brain, but did not become relatively larger after the split of the human line from the ancestral African hominoid stock. Aspects other than relative volume of the frontal lobe have to be responsible for the cognitive specializations of the hominids. PMID:9085187

  2. Schizophrenia, abnormal connection, and brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Randall, P L

    1983-03-01

    Abnormalities of functional connection between specialized areas in the human brain may underlie the symptoms which constitute the schizophrenia syndrome. Callosal and intrahemispheric fibres may be equally involved. The clinical emergence of symptoms in the later stages of brain maturation may be dependent on myelination of these fibre groups, both of which have extended myelination cycles. Ontogenetically earlier variants of the same mechanism could theoretically result in dyslexia and the syndromes of Kanner and Gilles de la Tourette. As new and unique extensions of specialized function emerge within the evolving brain, biological trial and error of connection both within and between them may produce individuals possessing phylogenetically advanced abilities, or equally, others possessing a wide range of abnormalities including those which comprise the schizophrenia syndrome. A dormant phenotypic potential for schizophrenia may exist in individuals who never develop symptoms during the course of a lifetime though some of these may become clinically apparent under the influence of various precipitating factors. It is concluded that abnormal functional connection and its normal and "supernormal" counterparts may be natural, essential, and inevitable consequences of brain evolution, and that this may have been so throughout the history of vertebrate brain evolution.

  3. The role of docosahexaenoic and the marine food web as determinants of evolution and hominid brain development: the challenge for human sustainability.

    PubMed

    Crawford, Michael A; Broadhurst, C Leigh

    2012-01-01

    Life originated on this planet about 3 billion years ago. For the first 2.5 billion years of life there was ample opportunity for DNA modification. Yet there is no evidence of significant change in life forms during that time. It was not until about 600 million years ago, when the oxygen tension rose to a point where air-breathing life forms became thermodynamically possible, that a major change can be abruptly seen in the fossil record. The sudden appearance of the 32 phyla in the Cambrian fossil record was also associated with the appearance of intracellular detail not seen in previous life forms. That detail was provided by cell membranes made with lipids (membrane fats) as structural essentials. Lipids thus played a major, as yet unrecognised, role as determinants in evolution. The compartmentalisation of intracellular, specialist functions as in the nucleus, mitochondria, reticulo-endothelial system and plasma membrane led to cellular specialisation and then speciation. Thus, not only oxygen but also the marine lipids were drivers in the Cambrian explosion. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (all-cis-docosa-4,7,10,13,16,19-hexaenoic acid, C22:6ω3 or C22:6, n-3, DHA) is a major feature of marine lipids. It requires six oxygen atoms to insert its six double bonds, so it would not have been abundant before oxidative metabolism became plentiful. DHA provided the membrane backbone for the emergence of new photoreceptors that converted photons into electricity, laying the foundation for the evolution of other signalling systems, the nervous system and the brain. Hence, the ω3 DHA from the marine food web must have played a critical role in human evolution. There is also clear evidence from molecular biology that DHA is a determinant of neuronal migration, neurogenesis and the expression of several genes involved in brain growth and function. That same process was essential to the ultimate cerebral expansion in human evolution. There is now incontrovertible support of this

  4. The role of docosahexaenoic and the marine food web as determinants of evolution and hominid brain development: the challenge for human sustainability.

    PubMed

    Crawford, Michael A; Broadhurst, C Leigh

    2012-01-01

    Life originated on this planet about 3 billion years ago. For the first 2.5 billion years of life there was ample opportunity for DNA modification. Yet there is no evidence of significant change in life forms during that time. It was not until about 600 million years ago, when the oxygen tension rose to a point where air-breathing life forms became thermodynamically possible, that a major change can be abruptly seen in the fossil record. The sudden appearance of the 32 phyla in the Cambrian fossil record was also associated with the appearance of intracellular detail not seen in previous life forms. That detail was provided by cell membranes made with lipids (membrane fats) as structural essentials. Lipids thus played a major, as yet unrecognised, role as determinants in evolution. The compartmentalisation of intracellular, specialist functions as in the nucleus, mitochondria, reticulo-endothelial system and plasma membrane led to cellular specialisation and then speciation. Thus, not only oxygen but also the marine lipids were drivers in the Cambrian explosion. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (all-cis-docosa-4,7,10,13,16,19-hexaenoic acid, C22:6ω3 or C22:6, n-3, DHA) is a major feature of marine lipids. It requires six oxygen atoms to insert its six double bonds, so it would not have been abundant before oxidative metabolism became plentiful. DHA provided the membrane backbone for the emergence of new photoreceptors that converted photons into electricity, laying the foundation for the evolution of other signalling systems, the nervous system and the brain. Hence, the ω3 DHA from the marine food web must have played a critical role in human evolution. There is also clear evidence from molecular biology that DHA is a determinant of neuronal migration, neurogenesis and the expression of several genes involved in brain growth and function. That same process was essential to the ultimate cerebral expansion in human evolution. There is now incontrovertible support of this

  5. Mathematical Model of Evolution of Brain Parcellation.

    PubMed

    Ferrante, Daniel D; Wei, Yi; Koulakov, Alexei A

    2016-01-01

    We study the distribution of brain and cortical area sizes [parcellation units (PUs)] obtained for three species: mouse, macaque, and human. We find that the distribution of PU sizes is close to lognormal. We propose the mathematical model of evolution of brain parcellation based on iterative fragmentation and specialization. In this model, each existing PU has a probability to be split that depends on PU size only. This model suggests that the same evolutionary process may have led to brain parcellation in these three species. Within our model, region-to-region (macro) connectivity is given by the outer product form. We show that most experimental data on non-zero macaque cortex macroscopic-level connections can be explained by the outer product power-law form suggested by our model (62% for area V1). We propose a multiplicative Hebbian learning rule for the macroconnectome that could yield the correct scaling of connection strengths between areas. We thus propose an evolutionary model that may have contributed to both brain parcellation and mesoscopic level connectivity in mammals. PMID:27378859

  6. Mathematical Model of Evolution of Brain Parcellation

    PubMed Central

    Ferrante, Daniel D.; Wei, Yi; Koulakov, Alexei A.

    2016-01-01

    We study the distribution of brain and cortical area sizes [parcellation units (PUs)] obtained for three species: mouse, macaque, and human. We find that the distribution of PU sizes is close to lognormal. We propose the mathematical model of evolution of brain parcellation based on iterative fragmentation and specialization. In this model, each existing PU has a probability to be split that depends on PU size only. This model suggests that the same evolutionary process may have led to brain parcellation in these three species. Within our model, region-to-region (macro) connectivity is given by the outer product form. We show that most experimental data on non-zero macaque cortex macroscopic-level connections can be explained by the outer product power-law form suggested by our model (62% for area V1). We propose a multiplicative Hebbian learning rule for the macroconnectome that could yield the correct scaling of connection strengths between areas. We thus propose an evolutionary model that may have contributed to both brain parcellation and mesoscopic level connectivity in mammals. PMID:27378859

  7. The human brain: rewired and running hot

    PubMed Central

    Preuss, Todd M.

    2011-01-01

    The past two decades have witnessed tremendous advances in noninvasive and postmortem neuroscientific techniques, advances that have made it possible, for the first time, to compare in detail the organization of the human brain to that of other primates. Studies comparing humans to chimpanzees and other great apes reveal that human brain evolution was not merely a matter of enlargement, but involved changes at all levels of organization that have been examined. These include the cellular and laminar organization of cortical areas; the higher-order organization of the cortex, as reflected in the expansion of association cortex (in absolute terms, as well as relative to primary areas); the distribution of long-distance cortical connections; and hemispheric asymmetry. Additionally, genetic differences between humans and other primates have proven to be more extensive than previously thought, raising the possibility that human brain evolution involved significant modifications of neurophysiology and cerebral energy metabolism. PMID:21599696

  8. Adaptive evolution of four microcephaly genes and the evolution of brain size in anthropoid primates.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, Stephen H; Capellini, Isabella; Venditti, Chris; Barton, Robert A; Mundy, Nicholas I

    2011-01-01

    The anatomical basis and adaptive function of the expansion in primate brain size have long been studied; however, we are only beginning to understand the genetic basis of these evolutionary changes. Genes linked to human primary microcephaly have received much attention as they have accelerated evolutionary rates along lineages leading to humans. However, these studies focus narrowly on apes, and the link between microcephaly gene evolution and brain evolution is disputed. We analyzed the molecular evolution of four genes associated with microcephaly (ASPM, CDK5RAP2, CENPJ, MCPH1) across 21 species representing all major clades of anthropoid primates. Contrary to prevailing assumptions, positive selection was not limited to or intensified along the lineage leading to humans. In fact we show that all four loci were subject to positive selection across the anthropoid primate phylogeny. We developed clearly defined hypotheses to explicitly test if selection on these loci was associated with the evolution of brain size. We found positive relationships between both CDK5RAP2 and ASPM and neonatal brain mass and somewhat weaker relationships between these genes and adult brain size. In contrast, there is no evidence linking CENPJ and MCPH1 to brain size evolution. The stronger association of ASPM and CDK5RAP2 evolution with neonatal brain size than with adult brain size is consistent with these loci having a direct effect on prenatal neuronal proliferation. These results suggest that primate brain size may have at least a partially conserved genetic basis. Our results contradict a previous study that linked adaptive evolution of ASPM to changes in relative cortex size; however, our analysis indicates that this conclusion is not robust. Our finding that the coding regions of two widely expressed loci has experienced pervasive positive selection in relation to a complex, quantitative developmental phenotype provides a notable counterexample to the commonly asserted

  9. Transcriptional neoteny in the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Somel, Mehmet; Franz, Henriette; Yan, Zheng; Lorenc, Anna; Guo, Song; Giger, Thomas; Kelso, Janet; Nickel, Birgit; Dannemann, Michael; Bahn, Sabine; Webster, Maree J.; Weickert, Cynthia S.; Lachmann, Michael; Pääbo, Svante; Khaitovich, Philipp

    2009-01-01

    In development, timing is of the utmost importance, and the timing of developmental processes often changes as organisms evolve. In human evolution, developmental retardation, or neoteny, has been proposed as a possible mechanism that contributed to the rise of many human-specific features, including an increase in brain size and the emergence of human-specific cognitive traits. We analyzed mRNA expression in the prefrontal cortex of humans, chimpanzees, and rhesus macaques to determine whether human-specific neotenic changes are present at the gene expression level. We show that the brain transcriptome is dramatically remodeled during postnatal development and that developmental changes in the human brain are indeed delayed relative to other primates. This delay is not uniform across the human transcriptome but affects a specific subset of genes that play a potential role in neural development. PMID:19307592

  10. Evolution and human sexuality.

    PubMed

    Gray, Peter B

    2013-12-01

    The aim of this review is to put core features of human sexuality in an evolutionary light. Toward that end, I address five topics concerning the evolution of human sexuality. First, I address theoretical foundations, including recent critiques and developments. While much traces back to Darwin and his view of sexual selection, more recent work helps refine the theoretical bases to sex differences and life history allocations to mating effort. Second, I consider central models attempting to specify the phylogenetic details regarding how hominin sexuality might have changed, with most of those models honing in on transitions from a possible chimpanzee-like ancestor to the slightly polygynous and long-term bonded sociosexual partnerships observed among most recently studied hunter-gatherers. Third, I address recent genetic and physiological data contributing to a refined understanding of human sexuality. As examples, the availability of rapidly increasing genomic information aids comparative approaches to discern signals of selection in sexuality-related phenotypes, and neuroendocrine studies of human responses to sexual stimuli provide insight into homologous and derived mechanisms. Fourth, I consider some of the most recent, large, and rigorous studies of human sexuality. These provide insights into sexual behavior across other national samples and on the Internet. Fifth, I discuss the relevance of a life course perspective to understanding the evolution of human sexuality. Most research on the evolution of human sexuality focuses on young adults. Yet humans are sexual beings from gestation to death, albeit in different ways across the life course, and in ways that can be theoretically couched within life history theory.

  11. What can volumes reveal about human brain evolution? A framework for bridging behavioral, histometric, and volumetric perspectives

    PubMed Central

    de Sousa, Alexandra A.; Proulx, Michael J.

    2014-01-01

    An overall relationship between brain size and cognitive ability exists across primates. Can more specific information about neural function be gleaned from cortical area volumes? Numerous studies have found significant relationships between brain structures and behaviors. However, few studies have speculated about brain structure-function relationships from the microanatomical to the macroanatomical level. Here we address this problem in comparative neuroanatomy, where the functional relevance of overall brain size and the sizes of cortical regions have been poorly understood, by considering comparative psychology, with measures of visual acuity and the perception of visual illusions. We outline a model where the macroscopic size (volume or surface area) of a cortical region (such as the primary visual cortex, V1) is related to the microstructure of discrete brain regions. The hypothesis developed here is that an absolutely larger V1 can process more information with greater fidelity due to having more neurons to represent a field of space. This is the first time that the necessary comparative neuroanatomical research at the microstructural level has been brought to bear on the issue. The evidence suggests that as the size of V1 increases: the number of neurons increases, the neuron density decreases, and the density of neuronal connections increases. Thus, we describe how information about gross neuromorphology, using V1 as a model for the study of other cortical areas, may permit interpretations of cortical function. PMID:25009469

  12. Functional craniology and brain evolution: from paleontology to biomedicine

    PubMed Central

    Bruner, Emiliano; de la Cuétara, José Manuel; Masters, Michael; Amano, Hideki; Ogihara, Naomichi

    2014-01-01

    Anatomical systems are organized through a network of structural and functional relationships among their elements. This network of relationships is the result of evolution, it represents the actual target of selection, and it generates the set of rules orienting and constraining the morphogenetic processes. Understanding the relationship among cranial and cerebral components is necessary to investigate the factors that have influenced and characterized our neuroanatomy, and possible drawbacks associated with the evolution of large brains. The study of the spatial relationships between skull and brain in the human genus has direct relevance in cranial surgery. Geometrical modeling can provide functional perspectives in evolution and brain physiology, like in simulations to investigate metabolic heat production and dissipation in the endocranial form. Analysis of the evolutionary constraints between facial and neural blocks can provide new information on visual impairment. The study of brain form variation in fossil humans can supply a different perspective for interpreting the processes behind neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease. Following these examples, it is apparent that paleontology and biomedicine can exchange relevant information and contribute at the same time to the development of robust evolutionary hypotheses on brain evolution, while offering more comprehensive biological perspectives with regard to the interpretation of pathological processes. PMID:24765064

  13. Functional craniology and brain evolution: from paleontology to biomedicine.

    PubMed

    Bruner, Emiliano; de la Cuétara, José Manuel; Masters, Michael; Amano, Hideki; Ogihara, Naomichi

    2014-01-01

    Anatomical systems are organized through a network of structural and functional relationships among their elements. This network of relationships is the result of evolution, it represents the actual target of selection, and it generates the set of rules orienting and constraining the morphogenetic processes. Understanding the relationship among cranial and cerebral components is necessary to investigate the factors that have influenced and characterized our neuroanatomy, and possible drawbacks associated with the evolution of large brains. The study of the spatial relationships between skull and brain in the human genus has direct relevance in cranial surgery. Geometrical modeling can provide functional perspectives in evolution and brain physiology, like in simulations to investigate metabolic heat production and dissipation in the endocranial form. Analysis of the evolutionary constraints between facial and neural blocks can provide new information on visual impairment. The study of brain form variation in fossil humans can supply a different perspective for interpreting the processes behind neurodegeneration and Alzheimer's disease. Following these examples, it is apparent that paleontology and biomedicine can exchange relevant information and contribute at the same time to the development of robust evolutionary hypotheses on brain evolution, while offering more comprehensive biological perspectives with regard to the interpretation of pathological processes.

  14. Evolution of alternative splicing in primate brain transcriptomes

    PubMed Central

    Lin, Lan; Shen, Shihao; Jiang, Peng; Sato, Seiko; Davidson, Beverly L.; Xing, Yi

    2010-01-01

    Alternative splicing is a predominant form of gene regulation in higher eukaryotes. The evolution of alternative splicing provides an important mechanism for the acquisition of novel gene functions. In this work, we carried out a genome-wide phylogenetic survey of lineage-specific splicing patterns in the primate brain, via high-density exon junction array profiling of brain transcriptomes of humans, chimpanzees and rhesus macaques. We identified 509 genes showing splicing differences among these species. RT–PCR analysis of 40 exons confirmed the predicted splicing evolution of 33 exons. Of these 33 exons, outgroup analysis using rhesus macaques confirmed 13 exons with human-specific increase or decrease in transcript inclusion levels after humans diverged from chimpanzees. Some of the human-specific brain splicing patterns disrupt domains critical for protein–protein interactions, and some modulate translational efficiency of their host genes. Strikingly, for exons showing splicing differences across species, we observed a significant increase in the rate of silent substitutions within exons, coupled with accelerated sequence divergence in flanking introns. This indicates that evolution of cis-regulatory signals is a major contributor to the emergence of human-specific splicing patterns. In one gene (MAGOH), using minigene reporter assays, we demonstrated that the combination of two human-specific cis-sequence changes created its human-specific splicing pattern. Together, our data reveal widespread human-specific changes of alternative splicing in the brain and suggest an important role of splicing in the evolution of neuronal gene regulation and functions. PMID:20460271

  15. Evolution of brain imaging instrumentation.

    PubMed

    Abraham, Tony; Feng, Janine

    2011-05-01

    Computed tomography (CT) and static magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are now the most common imaging modalities used for anatomic evaluation of pathologic processes affecting the brain. By contrast, radionuclide-based methods, including planar imaging, single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and positron emission tomography (PET), are the most widely used methods for evaluating brain function. SPECT and PET have been evolving for a longer time than CT and MRI and have made significant contributions to understanding brain function. The pioneering work on cerebral flow early in the last century laid the foundation of measurement with radioactive gases. This was initially performed with scintillation counters, which gave way to single, then multiple scintillation and multiprobe detectors. The invention of rectilinear scanners, MARK series, Anger cameras, and SPECT imaging further advanced nuclear medicine's role in brain imaging. Measurement of regional cerebral blood flow by SPECT provides pathophysiologic information that directs patient management in a variety of central nervous disorders (CNS), with the greatest clinical impact found in cerebrovascular disease and seizure disorder. In the former, SPECT not only provides means of early detection and localization of acute strokes but can also direct thrombolysis and determine prognosis in the postcerebrovascular accident period. With respect to the latter, ictal SPECT can localize seizure foci so that patients with refractory disease can potentially undergo surgical resection of the affected area. In contrast to brain SPECT, brain PET images reflect regional cerebral metabolism. Because of neurovascular coupling, findings on SPECT and PET images are often comparable. PET, however, still has improved spatial resolution and is therefore more sensitive than SPECT, particularly in the evaluation of dementias. Brain PET instrumentation has greatly evolved from its infancy, when it was used in regional

  16. MCPH1: a window into brain development and evolution

    PubMed Central

    Pulvers, Jeremy N.; Journiac, Nathalie; Arai, Yoko; Nardelli, Jeannette

    2015-01-01

    The development of the mammalian cerebral cortex involves a series of mechanisms: from patterning, progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation, to neuronal migration. Many factors influence the development of the cerebral cortex to its normal size and neuronal composition. Of these, the mechanisms that influence the proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor cells are of particular interest, as they may have the greatest consequence on brain size, not only during development but also in evolution. In this context, causative genes of human autosomal recessive primary microcephaly, such as ASPM and MCPH1, are attractive candidates, as many of them show positive selection during primate evolution. MCPH1 causes microcephaly in mice and humans and is involved in a diverse array of molecular functions beyond brain development, including DNA repair and chromosome condensation. Positive selection of MCPH1 in the primate lineage has led to much insight and discussion of its role in brain size evolution. In this review, we will present an overview of MCPH1 from these multiple angles, and whilst its specific role in brain size regulation during development and evolution remain elusive, the pieces of the puzzle will be discussed with the aim of putting together the full picture of this fascinating gene. PMID:25870538

  17. Educating the Human Brain. Human Brain Development Series

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Posner, Michael I.; Rothbart, Mary K.

    2006-01-01

    "Educating the Human Brain" is the product of a quarter century of research. This book provides an empirical account of the early development of attention and self regulation in infants and young children. It examines the brain areas involved in regulatory networks, their connectivity, and how their development is influenced by genes and…

  18. On the Evolution of the Mammalian Brain.

    PubMed

    Torday, John S; Miller, William B

    2016-01-01

    Hobson and Friston have hypothesized that the brain must actively dissipate heat in order to process information (Hobson et al., 2014). This physiologic trait is functionally homologous with the first instantation of life formed by lipids suspended in water forming micelles- allowing the reduction in entropy (heat dissipation). This circumvents the Second Law of Thermodynamics permitting the transfer of information between living entities, enabling them to perpetually glean information from the environment, that is felt by many to correspond to evolution per se. The next evolutionary milestone was the advent of cholesterol, embedded in the cell membranes of primordial eukaryotes, facilitating metabolism, oxygenation and locomotion, the triadic basis for vertebrate evolution. Lipids were key to homeostatic regulation of calcium, forming calcium channels. Cell membrane cholesterol also fostered metazoan evolution by forming lipid rafts for receptor-mediated cell-cell signaling, the origin of the endocrine system. The eukaryotic cell membrane exapted to all complex physiologic traits, including the lung and brain, which are molecularly homologous through the function of neuregulin, mediating both lung development and myelinization of neurons. That cooption later exapted as endothermy during the water-land transition (Torday, 2015a), perhaps being the functional homolog for brain heat dissipation and conscious/mindful information processing. The skin and brain similarly share molecular homologies through the "skin-brain" hypothesis, giving insight to the cellular-molecular "arc" of consciousness from its unicellular origins to integrated physiology. This perspective on the evolution of the central nervous system clarifies self-organization, reconciling thermodynamic and informational definitions of the underlying biophysical mechanisms, thereby elucidating relations between the predictive capabilities of the brain and self-organizational processes. PMID:27147985

  19. Histologic evolution of the reactions to hemorrhage in the premature human infant's brain. A combined ultrasound and autopsy study and a comparison with the reaction in adults.

    PubMed Central

    Darrow, V. C.; Alvord, E. C.; Mack, L. A.; Hodson, W. A.

    1988-01-01

    With the development and routine use of real-time ultrasound scanning, it has been possible to collect 20 autopsy cases of infants in whom the ultrasound scan was first normal and then showed evidence of subependymal/intraventricular hemorrhage (SEH/IVH). Analysis of these cases with known postnatal origin of the hemorrhage permitted the development for the first time of a time scale to characterize the temporal evolution of the histopathologic reactions to hemorrhage in the premature human brain. This time scale was then used to define the histologic stage of the lesions in 27 other cases of infants who had a scan demonstrating SEH/IVH prior to death but who had not a previously normal scan. Only 2 cases were found to lie off the original scale, indicating a prenatal onset of the hemorrhage in about 5% of the total cases. Thus, postnatal events immediately preceding the onset of the hemorrhage are more likely to be implicated in the pathogenesis of SEH/IVH than prenatal or obstetric events. Comparison with similar reactions in the adult indicate that the early reactions by macrophages occur at about the same rate but the routine transfer of iron from macrophages to astrocytes and the much slower rate of absorption to form a cyst in the adult combine to form a complicated pattern that requires a different set of criteria for the intermediate and late stages in the adult. Images Figure 4 Figure 3 Figure 9 Figure 2 Figure 1 Figure 5 Figure 7 PMID:3276212

  20. Functional mastery of percussive technology in nut-cracking and stone-flaking actions: experimental comparison and implications for the evolution of the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Bril, Blandine; Smaers, Jeroen; Steele, James; Rein, Robert; Nonaka, Tetsushi; Dietrich, Gilles; Biryukova, Elena; Hirata, Satoshi; Roux, Valentine

    2012-01-01

    Various authors have suggested behavioural similarities between tool use in early hominins and chimpanzee nut cracking, where nut cracking might be interpreted as a precursor of more complex stone flaking. In this paper, we bring together and review two separate strands of research on chimpanzee and human tool use and cognitive abilities. Firstly, and in the greatest detail, we review our recent experimental work on behavioural organization and skill acquisition in nut-cracking and stone-knapping tasks, highlighting similarities and differences between the two tasks that may be informative for the interpretation of stone tools in the early archaeological record. Secondly, and more briefly, we outline a model of the comparative neuropsychology of primate tool use and discuss recent descriptive anatomical and statistical analyses of anthropoid primate brain evolution, focusing on cortico-cerebellar systems. By juxtaposing these two strands of research, we are able to identify unsolved problems that can usefully be addressed by future research in each of these two research areas. PMID:22106427

  1. Spectral properties of the temporal evolution of brain network structure.

    PubMed

    Wang, Rong; Zhang, Zhen-Zhen; Ma, Jun; Yang, Yong; Lin, Pan; Wu, Ying

    2015-12-01

    The temporal evolution properties of the brain network are crucial for complex brain processes. In this paper, we investigate the differences in the dynamic brain network during resting and visual stimulation states in a task-positive subnetwork, task-negative subnetwork, and whole-brain network. The dynamic brain network is first constructed from human functional magnetic resonance imaging data based on the sliding window method, and then the eigenvalues corresponding to the network are calculated. We use eigenvalue analysis to analyze the global properties of eigenvalues and the random matrix theory (RMT) method to measure the local properties. For global properties, the shifting of the eigenvalue distribution and the decrease in the largest eigenvalue are linked to visual stimulation in all networks. For local properties, the short-range correlation in eigenvalues as measured by the nearest neighbor spacing distribution is not always sensitive to visual stimulation. However, the long-range correlation in eigenvalues as evaluated by spectral rigidity and number variance not only predicts the universal behavior of the dynamic brain network but also suggests non-consistent changes in different networks. These results demonstrate that the dynamic brain network is more random for the task-positive subnetwork and whole-brain network under visual stimulation but is more regular for the task-negative subnetwork. Our findings provide deeper insight into the importance of spectral properties in the functional brain network, especially the incomparable role of RMT in revealing the intrinsic properties of complex systems.

  2. Spectral properties of the temporal evolution of brain network structure.

    PubMed

    Wang, Rong; Zhang, Zhen-Zhen; Ma, Jun; Yang, Yong; Lin, Pan; Wu, Ying

    2015-12-01

    The temporal evolution properties of the brain network are crucial for complex brain processes. In this paper, we investigate the differences in the dynamic brain network during resting and visual stimulation states in a task-positive subnetwork, task-negative subnetwork, and whole-brain network. The dynamic brain network is first constructed from human functional magnetic resonance imaging data based on the sliding window method, and then the eigenvalues corresponding to the network are calculated. We use eigenvalue analysis to analyze the global properties of eigenvalues and the random matrix theory (RMT) method to measure the local properties. For global properties, the shifting of the eigenvalue distribution and the decrease in the largest eigenvalue are linked to visual stimulation in all networks. For local properties, the short-range correlation in eigenvalues as measured by the nearest neighbor spacing distribution is not always sensitive to visual stimulation. However, the long-range correlation in eigenvalues as evaluated by spectral rigidity and number variance not only predicts the universal behavior of the dynamic brain network but also suggests non-consistent changes in different networks. These results demonstrate that the dynamic brain network is more random for the task-positive subnetwork and whole-brain network under visual stimulation but is more regular for the task-negative subnetwork. Our findings provide deeper insight into the importance of spectral properties in the functional brain network, especially the incomparable role of RMT in revealing the intrinsic properties of complex systems. PMID:26723151

  3. Spectral properties of the temporal evolution of brain network structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Rong; Zhang, Zhen-Zhen; Ma, Jun; Yang, Yong; Lin, Pan; Wu, Ying

    2015-12-01

    The temporal evolution properties of the brain network are crucial for complex brain processes. In this paper, we investigate the differences in the dynamic brain network during resting and visual stimulation states in a task-positive subnetwork, task-negative subnetwork, and whole-brain network. The dynamic brain network is first constructed from human functional magnetic resonance imaging data based on the sliding window method, and then the eigenvalues corresponding to the network are calculated. We use eigenvalue analysis to analyze the global properties of eigenvalues and the random matrix theory (RMT) method to measure the local properties. For global properties, the shifting of the eigenvalue distribution and the decrease in the largest eigenvalue are linked to visual stimulation in all networks. For local properties, the short-range correlation in eigenvalues as measured by the nearest neighbor spacing distribution is not always sensitive to visual stimulation. However, the long-range correlation in eigenvalues as evaluated by spectral rigidity and number variance not only predicts the universal behavior of the dynamic brain network but also suggests non-consistent changes in different networks. These results demonstrate that the dynamic brain network is more random for the task-positive subnetwork and whole-brain network under visual stimulation but is more regular for the task-negative subnetwork. Our findings provide deeper insight into the importance of spectral properties in the functional brain network, especially the incomparable role of RMT in revealing the intrinsic properties of complex systems.

  4. Transcriptional Landscape of the Prenatal Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Jeremy A.; Ding, Song-Lin; Sunkin, Susan M.; Smith, Kimberly A; Ng, Lydia; Szafer, Aaron; Ebbert, Amanda; Riley, Zackery L.; Aiona, Kaylynn; Arnold, James M.; Bennet, Crissa; Bertagnolli, Darren; Brouner, Krissy; Butler, Stephanie; Caldejon, Shiella; Carey, Anita; Cuhaciyan, Christine; Dalley, Rachel A.; Dee, Nick; Dolbeare, Tim A.; Facer, Benjamin A. C.; Feng, David; Fliss, Tim P.; Gee, Garrett; Goldy, Jeff; Gourley, Lindsey; Gregor, Benjamin W.; Gu, Guangyu; Howard, Robert E.; Jochim, Jayson M.; Kuan, Chihchau L.; Lau, Christopher; Lee, Chang-Kyu; Lee, Felix; Lemon, Tracy A.; Lesnar, Phil; McMurray, Bergen; Mastan, Naveed; Mosqueda, Nerick F.; Naluai-Cecchini, Theresa; Ngo, Nhan-Kiet; Nyhus, Julie; Oldre, Aaron; Olson, Eric; Parente, Jody; Parker, Patrick D.; Parry, Sheana E.; Player, Allison Stevens; Pletikos, Mihovil; Reding, Melissa; Royall, Joshua J.; Roll, Kate; Sandman, David; Sarreal, Melaine; Shapouri, Sheila; Shapovalova, Nadiya V.; Shen, Elaine H.; Sjoquist, Nathan; Slaughterbeck, Clifford R.; Smith, Michael; Sodt, Andy J.; Williams, Derric; Zöllei, Lilla; Fischl, Bruce; Gerstein, Mark B.; Geschwind, Daniel H.; Glass, Ian A.; Hawrylycz, Michael J.; Hevner, Robert F.; Huang, Hao; Jones, Allan R.; Knowles, James A.; Levitt, Pat; Phillips, John W.; Sestan, Nenad; Wohnoutka, Paul; Dang, Chinh; Bernard, Amy; Hohmann, John G.; Lein, Ed S.

    2014-01-01

    Summary The anatomical and functional architecture of the human brain is largely determined by prenatal transcriptional processes. We describe an anatomically comprehensive atlas of mid-gestational human brain, including de novo reference atlases, in situ hybridization, ultra-high resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and microarray analysis on highly discrete laser microdissected brain regions. In developing cerebral cortex, transcriptional differences are found between different proliferative and postmitotic layers, wherein laminar signatures reflect cellular composition and developmental processes. Cytoarchitectural differences between human and mouse have molecular correlates, including species differences in gene expression in subplate, although surprisingly we find minimal differences between the inner and human-expanded outer subventricular zones. Both germinal and postmitotic cortical layers exhibit fronto-temporal gradients, with particular enrichment in frontal lobe. Finally, many neurodevelopmental disorder and human evolution-related genes show patterned expression, potentially underlying unique features of human cortical formation. These data provide a rich, freely-accessible resource for understanding human brain development. PMID:24695229

  5. On the Evolution of the Mammalian Brain

    PubMed Central

    Torday, John S.; Miller, William B.

    2016-01-01

    Hobson and Friston have hypothesized that the brain must actively dissipate heat in order to process information (Hobson et al., 2014). This physiologic trait is functionally homologous with the first instantation of life formed by lipids suspended in water forming micelles- allowing the reduction in entropy (heat dissipation). This circumvents the Second Law of Thermodynamics permitting the transfer of information between living entities, enabling them to perpetually glean information from the environment, that is felt by many to correspond to evolution per se. The next evolutionary milestone was the advent of cholesterol, embedded in the cell membranes of primordial eukaryotes, facilitating metabolism, oxygenation and locomotion, the triadic basis for vertebrate evolution. Lipids were key to homeostatic regulation of calcium, forming calcium channels. Cell membrane cholesterol also fostered metazoan evolution by forming lipid rafts for receptor-mediated cell-cell signaling, the origin of the endocrine system. The eukaryotic cell membrane exapted to all complex physiologic traits, including the lung and brain, which are molecularly homologous through the function of neuregulin, mediating both lung development and myelinization of neurons. That cooption later exapted as endothermy during the water-land transition (Torday, 2015a), perhaps being the functional homolog for brain heat dissipation and conscious/mindful information processing. The skin and brain similarly share molecular homologies through the “skin-brain” hypothesis, giving insight to the cellular-molecular “arc” of consciousness from its unicellular origins to integrated physiology. This perspective on the evolution of the central nervous system clarifies self-organization, reconciling thermodynamic and informational definitions of the underlying biophysical mechanisms, thereby elucidating relations between the predictive capabilities of the brain and self-organizational processes. PMID

  6. Darwin's evolution theory, brain oscillations, and complex brain function in a new "Cartesian view".

    PubMed

    Başar, Erol; Güntekin, Bahar

    2009-01-01

    Comparatively analyses of electrophysiological correlates across species during evolution, alpha activity during brain maturation, and alpha activity in complex cognitive processes are presented to illustrate a new multidimensional "Cartesian System" brain function. The main features are: (1) The growth of the alpha activity during evolution, increase of alpha during cognitive processes, and decrease of the alpha entropy during evolution provide an indicator for evolution of brain cognitive performance. (2) Human children younger than 3 years are unable to produce higher cognitive processes and do not show alpha activity till the age of 3 years. The mature brain can perform higher cognitive processes and demonstrates regular alpha activity. (3) Alpha activity also is significantly associated with highly complex cognitive processes, such as the recognition of facial expressions. The neural activity reflected by these brain oscillations can be considered as constituent "building blocks" for a great number of functions. An overarching statement on the alpha function is presented by extended analyzes with multiple dimensions that constitute a "Cartesian Hyperspace" as the basis for oscillatory function. Theoretical implications are considered. PMID:18805445

  7. Darwin's evolution theory, brain oscillations, and complex brain function in a new "Cartesian view".

    PubMed

    Başar, Erol; Güntekin, Bahar

    2009-01-01

    Comparatively analyses of electrophysiological correlates across species during evolution, alpha activity during brain maturation, and alpha activity in complex cognitive processes are presented to illustrate a new multidimensional "Cartesian System" brain function. The main features are: (1) The growth of the alpha activity during evolution, increase of alpha during cognitive processes, and decrease of the alpha entropy during evolution provide an indicator for evolution of brain cognitive performance. (2) Human children younger than 3 years are unable to produce higher cognitive processes and do not show alpha activity till the age of 3 years. The mature brain can perform higher cognitive processes and demonstrates regular alpha activity. (3) Alpha activity also is significantly associated with highly complex cognitive processes, such as the recognition of facial expressions. The neural activity reflected by these brain oscillations can be considered as constituent "building blocks" for a great number of functions. An overarching statement on the alpha function is presented by extended analyzes with multiple dimensions that constitute a "Cartesian Hyperspace" as the basis for oscillatory function. Theoretical implications are considered.

  8. Molecular genetic determinants of human brain size.

    PubMed

    Tang, Bor Luen

    2006-07-01

    Cognitive skills such as tool use, syntactical languages, and self-awareness differentiate humans from other primates. The underlying basis for this cognitive difference has been widely associated with a high encephalization quotient and an anatomically distinct, exceptionally large cerebral cortex. Investigations on congenital microcephaly had revealed several genes that affect mammalian brain size when mutated. At least four of these, microcephalin (MCPH1), abnormal spindle-like microcephaly-associated (ASPM), cyclin-dependent kinase 5 regulatory associated protein 2 (CDK5RAP2), and centromere-associated protein J (CENPJ) are known to have undergone significant positive selection in the great apes and human lineages during primate evolution. MCPH1 and ASPM both have very young single nucleotide polymorphism haplotypes associated with modern humans, and these genes are presumably still evolving in Homo sapiens. Microcephalin has a role in DNA damage response and regulation of cell cycle checkpoints. The other known microcephaly-associated genes encode microtubule-associated centrosomal proteins that might regulate neural progenitor cell division and cell number. Recent reports have also unveiled a previously unknown function of ephrins and Eph in the regulation of neural progenitor cell death with a consequential effect on brain size. Understanding the mechanism for developmental control of brain organogenesis by these genes, and others such as FOXP2, shall provide fresh perspectives on the evolution of human intelligence. PMID:16716254

  9. Molecular genetic determinants of human brain size.

    PubMed

    Tang, Bor Luen

    2006-07-01

    Cognitive skills such as tool use, syntactical languages, and self-awareness differentiate humans from other primates. The underlying basis for this cognitive difference has been widely associated with a high encephalization quotient and an anatomically distinct, exceptionally large cerebral cortex. Investigations on congenital microcephaly had revealed several genes that affect mammalian brain size when mutated. At least four of these, microcephalin (MCPH1), abnormal spindle-like microcephaly-associated (ASPM), cyclin-dependent kinase 5 regulatory associated protein 2 (CDK5RAP2), and centromere-associated protein J (CENPJ) are known to have undergone significant positive selection in the great apes and human lineages during primate evolution. MCPH1 and ASPM both have very young single nucleotide polymorphism haplotypes associated with modern humans, and these genes are presumably still evolving in Homo sapiens. Microcephalin has a role in DNA damage response and regulation of cell cycle checkpoints. The other known microcephaly-associated genes encode microtubule-associated centrosomal proteins that might regulate neural progenitor cell division and cell number. Recent reports have also unveiled a previously unknown function of ephrins and Eph in the regulation of neural progenitor cell death with a consequential effect on brain size. Understanding the mechanism for developmental control of brain organogenesis by these genes, and others such as FOXP2, shall provide fresh perspectives on the evolution of human intelligence.

  10. Design principles of the human brain: an evolutionary perspective.

    PubMed

    Hofman, Michel A

    2012-01-01

    The evolution of the brain in mammals has been accompanied by a reorganization of the brain as a result of differential growth of certain brain regions. Consequently, the geometry of the brain, and especially the size and shape of the cerebral cortex, has changed notably during evolution. Comparative studies of the cerebral cortex suggest that there are general architectural principles governing its growth and evolutionary development and that the primate neocortex is uniformly organized and composed of neural processing units. We are beginning to understand the geometric, biophysical, and energy constraints that have governed the evolution of these neuronal networks. In this review, some of the design principles and operational modes will be explored that underlie the information processing capacity of the cerebral cortex in primates, and it will be argued that with the evolution of the human brain we have nearly reached the limits of biological intelligence.

  11. Major transitions in human evolution.

    PubMed

    Foley, Robert A; Martin, Lawrence; Mirazón Lahr, Marta; Stringer, Chris

    2016-07-01

    Evolutionary problems are often considered in terms of 'origins', and research in human evolution seen as a search for human origins. However, evolution, including human evolution, is a process of transitions from one state to another, and so questions are best put in terms of understanding the nature of those transitions. This paper discusses how the contributions to the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution' throw light on the pattern of change in hominin evolution. Four questions are addressed: (1) Is there a major divide between early (australopithecine) and later (Homo) evolution? (2) Does the pattern of change fit a model of short transformations, or gradual evolution? (3) Why is the role of Africa so prominent? (4) How are different aspects of adaptation-genes, phenotypes and behaviour-integrated across the transitions? The importance of developing technologies and approaches and the enduring role of fieldwork are emphasized.This article is part of the themed issue 'Major transitions in human evolution'. PMID:27298461

  12. Splicing in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Zaghlool, Ammar; Ameur, Adam; Cavelier, Lucia; Feuk, Lars

    2014-01-01

    It has become increasingly clear over the past decade that RNA has important functions in human cells beyond its role as an intermediate translator of DNA to protein. It is now known that RNA plays highly specific roles in pathways involved in regulatory, structural, and catalytic functions. The complexity of RNA production and regulation has become evident with the advent of high-throughput methods to study the transcriptome. Deep sequencing has revealed an enormous diversity of RNA types and transcript isoforms in human cells. The transcriptome of the human brain is particularly interesting as it contains more expressed genes than other tissues and also displays an extreme diversity of transcript isoforms, indicating that highly complex regulatory pathways are present in the brain. Several of these regulatory proteins are now identified, including RNA-binding proteins that are neuron specific. RNA-binding proteins also play important roles in regulating the splicing process and the temporal and spatial isoform production. While significant progress has been made in understanding the human transcriptome, many questions still remain regarding the basic mechanisms of splicing and subcellular localization of RNA. A long-standing question is to what extent the splicing of pre-mRNA is cotranscriptional and posttranscriptional, respectively. Recent data, including studies of the human brain, indicate that splicing is primarily cotranscriptional in human cells. This chapter describes the current understanding of splicing and splicing regulation in the human brain and discusses the recent global sequence-based analyses of transcription and splicing. PMID:25172473

  13. Evolution of ASPM is associated with both increases and decreases in brain size in primates.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, Stephen H; Mundy, Nicholas I

    2012-03-01

    A fundamental trend during primate evolution has been the expansion of brain size. However, this trend was reversed in the Callitrichidae (marmosets and tamarins), which have secondarily evolved smaller brains associated with a reduction in body size. The recent pursuit of the genetic basis of brain size evolution has largely focused on episodes of brain expansion, but new insights may be gained by investigating episodes of brain size reduction. Previous results suggest two genes (ASPM and CDK5RAP2) associated with microcephaly, a human neurodevelopmental disorder, may have an evolutionary function in primate brain expansion. Here we use new sequences encoding key functional domains from 12 species of callitrichids to show that positive selection has acted on ASPM across callitrichid evolution and the rate of ASPM evolution is significantly negatively correlated with callitrichid brain size, whereas the evolution of CDK5RAP2 shows no correlation with brain size. Our findings strongly suggest that ASPM has a previously unsuspected role in the evolution of small brains in primates. ASPM is therefore intimately linked to both evolutionary increases and decreases in brain size in anthropoids and is a key target for natural selection acting on brain size. PMID:22380452

  14. Specialized brain cooling in humans?

    PubMed

    Brengelmann, G L

    1993-09-01

    Humans, compared to other species, have exceptional capability for dissipation of heat from the entire skin surface. We can secrete more than two liters per hour of sweat, indefinitely. The corresponding potential for evaporative cooling is near a thousand watts, sufficient to compensate for the extreme high levels of heat production during exercise. Also, the blood vessels of our skin have exceptional capability to dilate and deliver heat to the body surface. These are our special adaptations for thermal stress. They allow prolonged heavy exercise with modest elevations in the temperature of the fluid that cools all the internal organs, not just the brain-arterial blood. The vascular architecture of the human head is radically different from that of animals that exhibit SBC. These species have special adaptations that reflect their dependence on respiratory evaporation, particularly the limitation imposed on capability to dispose of heat produced during exercise. The increase in blood temperature in an intense sprint would heat the well-perfused brain rapidly. But the heat exchange over the large surface area of contact between a venous plexus cooled by respiratory evaporation and the meshwork of arterial vessels in the carotid rete precools blood bound for the brain. Specialized cooling of the brain (SBC) has not been demonstrated by direct measurements in humans. Changes in tympanic temperature (Tty) are taken as evidence for SBC. This continues an unfortunate tradition of exaggeration of the significance of Tty. In the only direct measurements available, brain temperature was unaffected by fanning the face although Tty did fall. What may appear to be a remnant of the carotid rete heat exchanger in humans is the intimate association between a short segment of the internal carotid artery and the plexus of veins in the cavernous sinus. Fortunately, the brain need not rely for its cooling on countercurrent heat exchange across this small surface area of contact. In

  15. The digital revolution and adolescent brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Giedd, Jay N

    2012-08-01

    Remarkable advances in technologies that enable the distribution and use of information encoded as digital sequences of 1s or 0s have dramatically changed our way of life. Adolescents, old enough to master the technologies and young enough to welcome their novelty, are at the forefront of this "digital revolution." Underlying the adolescent's eager embracement of these sweeping changes is a neurobiology forged by the fires of evolution to be extremely adept at adaptation. The consequences of the brain's adaptation to the demands and opportunities of the digital age have enormous implications for adolescent health professionals.

  16. The Digital Revolution and Adolescent Brain Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Giedd, Jay N.

    2012-01-01

    Remarkable advances in technologies that enable the distribution and utilization of information encoded as digital sequences of 1s or 0s have dramatically changed our way of life. Adolescents, old enough to master the technologies and young enough to welcome their novelty, are at the forefront of this “digital revolution”. Underlying the adolescent’s eager embracement of these sweeping changes is neurobiology forged byte fires of evolution to be extremely adept at adaptation. The consequences of the brains adaptation to the demands and opportunities of the digital age have enormous implications for adolescent health professionals. PMID:22824439

  17. Co-evolution of human consciousness and language (revisited).

    PubMed

    Arbib, Michael A

    2014-06-01

    This article discusses the view that human consciousness may share aspects of "animal awareness" with other species, but has its unique form because humans possess language. Two ingredients of a theory of the evolution of human consciousness are offered: the view that a précis of intended activity is necessarily formed in the brain of a human that communicates in a human way; and the notion that such a précis underwrites the uniquely human aspect of consciousness.

  18. Major transitions in human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Foley, Robert A.; Martin, Lawrence; Mirazón Lahr, Marta; Stringer, Chris

    2016-01-01

    Evolutionary problems are often considered in terms of ‘origins', and research in human evolution seen as a search for human origins. However, evolution, including human evolution, is a process of transitions from one state to another, and so questions are best put in terms of understanding the nature of those transitions. This paper discusses how the contributions to the themed issue ‘Major transitions in human evolution’ throw light on the pattern of change in hominin evolution. Four questions are addressed: (1) Is there a major divide between early (australopithecine) and later (Homo) evolution? (2) Does the pattern of change fit a model of short transformations, or gradual evolution? (3) Why is the role of Africa so prominent? (4) How are different aspects of adaptation—genes, phenotypes and behaviour—integrated across the transitions? The importance of developing technologies and approaches and the enduring role of fieldwork are emphasized. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Major transitions in human evolution’. PMID:27298461

  19. Toward Developmental Connectomics of the Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Cao, Miao; Huang, Hao; Peng, Yun; Dong, Qi; He, Yong

    2016-01-01

    Imaging connectomics based on graph theory has become an effective and unique methodological framework for studying structural and functional connectivity patterns of the developing brain. Normal brain development is characterized by continuous and significant network evolution throughout infancy, childhood, and adolescence, following specific maturational patterns. Disruption of these normal changes is associated with neuropsychiatric developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. In this review, we focused on the recent progresses regarding typical and atypical development of human brain networks from birth to early adulthood, using a connectomic approach. Specifically, by the time of birth, structural networks already exhibit adult-like organization, with global efficient small-world and modular structures, as well as hub regions and rich-clubs acting as communication backbones. During development, the structure networks are fine-tuned, with increased global integration and robustness and decreased local segregation, as well as the strengthening of the hubs. In parallel, functional networks undergo more dramatic changes during maturation, with both increased integration and segregation during development, as brain hubs shift from primary regions to high order functioning regions, and the organization of modules transitions from a local anatomical emphasis to a more distributed architecture. These findings suggest that structural networks develop earlier than functional networks; meanwhile functional networks demonstrate more dramatic maturational changes with the evolution of structural networks serving as the anatomical backbone. In this review, we also highlighted topologically disorganized characteristics in structural and functional brain networks in several major developmental neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and developmental

  20. Climatic Change and Human Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Garratt, John R.

    1995-01-01

    Traces the history of the Earth over four billion years, and shows how climate has had an important role to play in the evolution of humans. Posits that the world's rapidly growing human population and its increasing use of energy is the cause of present-day changes in the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. (Author/JRH)

  1. Morphology and histology of chimpanzee primary visual striate cortex indicate that brain reorganization predated brain expansion in early hominid evolution.

    PubMed

    Holloway, Ralph L; Broadfield, Douglas C; Yuan, Michael S

    2003-07-01

    Human brain evolution is characterized by an overall increase in brain size, cerebral reorganization, and cerebral lateralization. It is generally understood when brain enlargement occurred during human evolution. However, issues concerning cerebral reorganization and hemispheric lateralization are more difficult to determine from brain endocasts, and they are topics of considerable debate. One region of the cerebral cortex that may represent the earliest evidence for brain reorganization is the primary visual cortex (PVC), or area 17 of Brodmann. In nonhuman primates, this region is larger in volume (demarcated anteriorly by the lunate sulcus), and extends further rostrally than it does in modern humans. In early hominid fossil (Australopithecus) endocasts, this region appears to occupy a smaller area compared to that in nonhuman primates. Some have argued that the brain first underwent size expansion prior to reorganization, while others maintain that reorganization predated brain expansion. To help resolve this question, we provide a description of two male, common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) brains, YN77-111 and YN92-115, which clearly display a more posterior lunate sulcal morphology than seen in other chimpanzees. These data show that neurogenetic variability exists in chimpanzees, and that significant differences in organization (e.g., a reduced PVC) can predate brain enlargement. While the human brain has experienced numerous expansion and reorganization events throughout evolution, the data from these two chimpanzees offer significant support for the hypothesis that the neurogenetic basis for brain reorganization was present in our early fossil ancestors (i.e., the australopithecines) prior to brain enlargement. PMID:12808644

  2. Lipidomics of human brain aging and Alzheimer's disease pathology.

    PubMed

    Naudí, Alba; Cabré, Rosanna; Jové, Mariona; Ayala, Victoria; Gonzalo, Hugo; Portero-Otín, Manuel; Ferrer, Isidre; Pamplona, Reinald

    2015-01-01

    Lipids stimulated and favored the evolution of the brain. Adult human brain contains a large amount of lipids, and the largest diversity of lipid classes and lipid molecular species. Lipidomics is defined as "the full characterization of lipid molecular species and of their biological roles with respect to expression of proteins involved in lipid metabolism and function, including gene regulation." Therefore, the study of brain lipidomics can help to unravel the diversity and to disclose the specificity of these lipid traits and its alterations in neural (neurons and glial) cells, groups of neural cells, brain, and fluids such as cerebrospinal fluid and plasma, thus helping to uncover potential biomarkers of human brain aging and Alzheimer disease. This review will discuss the lipid composition of the adult human brain. We first consider a brief approach to lipid definition, classification, and tools for analysis from the new point of view that has emerged with lipidomics, and then turn to the lipid profiles in human brain and how lipids affect brain function. Finally, we focus on the current status of lipidomics findings in human brain aging and Alzheimer's disease pathology. Neurolipidomics will increase knowledge about physiological and pathological functions of brain cells and will place the concept of selective neuronal vulnerability in a lipid context.

  3. Parasites and human evolution.

    PubMed

    Perry, George H

    2014-01-01

    Our understanding of human evolutionary and population history can be advanced by ecological and evolutionary studies of our parasites. Many parasites flourish only in the presence of very specific human behaviors and in specific habitats, are wholly dependent on us, and have evolved with us for thousands or millions of years. Therefore, by asking when and how we first acquired those parasites, under which environmental and cultural conditions we are the most susceptible, and how the parasites have evolved and adapted to us and we in response to them, we can gain considerable insight into our own evolutionary history. As examples, the tapeworm life cycle is dependent on our consumption of meat, the divergence of body and head lice may have been subsequent to the development of clothing, and malaria hyperendemicity may be associated with agriculture. Thus, the evolutionary and population histories of these parasites are likely intertwined with critical aspects of human biology and culture. Here I review the mechanics of these and multiple other parasite proxies for human evolutionary history and discuss how they currently complement our fossil, archeological, molecular, linguistic, historical, and ethnographic records. I also highlight potential future applications of this promising model for the field of evolutionary anthropology.

  4. Endogenous Retroviruses and Human Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Lebedev, Yuri; Sverdlov, Eugene

    2002-01-01

    Humans share about 99% of their genomic DNA with chimpanzees and bonobos; thus, the differences between these species are unlikely to be in gene content but could be caused by inherited changes in regulatory systems. Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) comprise ∼ 5% of the human genome. The LTRs of ERVs contain many regulatory sequences, such as promoters, enhancers, polyadenylation signals and factor-binding sites. Thus, they can influence the expression of nearby human genes. All known human-specific LTRs belong to the HERV-K (human ERV) family, the most active family in the human genome. It is likely that some of these ERVs could have integrated into regulatory regions of the human genome, and therefore could have had an impact on the expression of adjacent genes, which have consequently contributed to human evolution. This review discusses possible functional consequences of ERV integration in active coding regions. PMID:18629260

  5. Human evolution and cognition.

    PubMed

    Tattersall, Ian

    2010-09-01

    Human beings are distinguished from all other organisms by their symbolic way of processing information about the world. This unique cognitive style is qualitatively different from all the earlier hominid cognitive styles, and is not simply an improved version of them. The hominid fossil and archaeological records show clearly that biological and technological innovations have typically been highly sporadic, and totally out of phase, since the invention of stone tools some 2.5 million years ago. They also confirm that this pattern applied in the arrival of modern cognition: the anatomically recognizable species Homo sapiens was well established long before any population of it began to show indications of behaving symbolically. This places the origin of symbolic thought in the realms of exaptation, whereby new structures come into existence before being recruited to new uses, and of emergence, whereby entire new levels of complexity are achieved through new combinations of attributes unremarkable in themselves. Both these phenomena involve entirely routine evolutionary processes; special as we human beings may consider ourselves, there was nothing special about the way we came into existence. Modern human cognition is a very recent acquisition; and its emergence ushered in an entirely new pattern of technological (and other behavioral) innovation, in which constant change results from the ceaseless exploration of the potential inherent in our new capacity.

  6. Reciprocal evolution of the cerebellum and neocortex in fossil humans.

    PubMed

    Weaver, Anne H

    2005-03-01

    Human brain evolution involved both neurological reorganization and an increase in overall brain volume relative to body mass. It is generally difficult to draw functional inferences about the timing and nature of brain reorganization, given that superficial brain morphology recorded on fossil endocasts is functionally ambiguous. However, the cerebellum, housed in the clearly delineated posterior cranial fossa, is functionally and ontologically discrete. The cerebellum is reciprocally connected to each of 14 neocortical regions important to human cognitive evolution. Cerebellar volume varies significantly relative to overall brain volume among mammalian orders, as well as within the primate order. There is also significant diachronic variation among fossil human taxa. In the australopithecines and early members of the genus Homo, the cerebral hemispheres were large in proportion to the cerebellum, compared with other hominoids. This trend continued in Middle and Late Pleistocene humans, including Neandertals and Cro-Magnon 1, who have the largest cerebral hemispheres relative to cerebellum volume of any primates, including earlier and Holocene humans. In recent humans, however, the pattern is reversed; the cerebellum is larger with respect to the rest of the brain (and, conversely, the cerebral hemispheres are smaller with respect to the cerebellum) than in Late Pleistocene humans. The cerebellum and cerebral hemispheres appear to have evolved reciprocally. Cerebellar development in Holocene humans may have provided greater computational efficiency for coping with an increasingly complex cultural and conceptual environment.

  7. Reciprocal evolution of the cerebellum and neocortex in fossil humans

    PubMed Central

    Weaver, Anne H.

    2005-01-01

    Human brain evolution involved both neurological reorganization and an increase in overall brain volume relative to body mass. It is generally difficult to draw functional inferences about the timing and nature of brain reorganization, given that superficial brain morphology recorded on fossil endocasts is functionally ambiguous. However, the cerebellum, housed in the clearly delineated posterior cranial fossa, is functionally and ontologically discrete. The cerebellum is reciprocally connected to each of 14 neocortical regions important to human cognitive evolution. Cerebellar volume varies significantly relative to overall brain volume among mammalian orders, as well as within the primate order. There is also significant diachronic variation among fossil human taxa. In the australopithecines and early members of the genus Homo, the cerebral hemispheres were large in proportion to the cerebellum, compared with other hominoids. This trend continued in Middle and Late Pleistocene humans, including Neandertals and Cro-Magnon 1, who have the largest cerebral hemispheres relative to cerebellum volume of any primates, including earlier and Holocene humans. In recent humans, however, the pattern is reversed; the cerebellum is larger with respect to the rest of the brain (and, conversely, the cerebral hemispheres are smaller with respect to the cerebellum) than in Late Pleistocene humans. The cerebellum and cerebral hemispheres appear to have evolved reciprocally. Cerebellar development in Holocene humans may have provided greater computational efficiency for coping with an increasingly complex cultural and conceptual environment. PMID:15731345

  8. Reciprocal evolution of the cerebellum and neocortex in fossil humans.

    PubMed

    Weaver, Anne H

    2005-03-01

    Human brain evolution involved both neurological reorganization and an increase in overall brain volume relative to body mass. It is generally difficult to draw functional inferences about the timing and nature of brain reorganization, given that superficial brain morphology recorded on fossil endocasts is functionally ambiguous. However, the cerebellum, housed in the clearly delineated posterior cranial fossa, is functionally and ontologically discrete. The cerebellum is reciprocally connected to each of 14 neocortical regions important to human cognitive evolution. Cerebellar volume varies significantly relative to overall brain volume among mammalian orders, as well as within the primate order. There is also significant diachronic variation among fossil human taxa. In the australopithecines and early members of the genus Homo, the cerebral hemispheres were large in proportion to the cerebellum, compared with other hominoids. This trend continued in Middle and Late Pleistocene humans, including Neandertals and Cro-Magnon 1, who have the largest cerebral hemispheres relative to cerebellum volume of any primates, including earlier and Holocene humans. In recent humans, however, the pattern is reversed; the cerebellum is larger with respect to the rest of the brain (and, conversely, the cerebral hemispheres are smaller with respect to the cerebellum) than in Late Pleistocene humans. The cerebellum and cerebral hemispheres appear to have evolved reciprocally. Cerebellar development in Holocene humans may have provided greater computational efficiency for coping with an increasingly complex cultural and conceptual environment. PMID:15731345

  9. Skulls and Human Evolution: The Use of Casts of Anthropoid Skulls in Teaching Concepts of Human Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gipps, John

    1991-01-01

    Proposes the use of a series of 11 casts of fossil skulls as a method of teaching about the theory of human evolution. Students explore the questions of which skulls are "human" and which came first in Homo Sapien development, large brain or upright stance. (MDH)

  10. Tempo and mode in human evolution.

    PubMed Central

    McHenry, H M

    1994-01-01

    The quickening pace of paleontological discovery is matched by rapid developments in geochronology. These new data show that the pattern of morphological change in the hominid lineage was mosaic. Adaptations essential to bipedalism appeared early, but some locomotor features changed much later. Relative to the highly derived postcrania of the earliest hominids, the craniodental complex was quite primitive (i.e., like the reconstructed last common ancestor with the African great apes). The pattern of craniodental change among successively younger species of Hominidae implies extensive parallel evolution between at least two lineages in features related to mastication. Relative brain size increased slightly among successively younger species of Australopithecus, expanded significantly with the appearance of Homo, but within early Homo remained at about half the size of Homo sapiens for almost a million years. Many apparent trends in human evolution may actually be due to the accumulation of relatively rapid shifts in successive species. PMID:8041697

  11. Metabolic costs and evolutionary implications of human brain development.

    PubMed

    Kuzawa, Christopher W; Chugani, Harry T; Grossman, Lawrence I; Lipovich, Leonard; Muzik, Otto; Hof, Patrick R; Wildman, Derek E; Sherwood, Chet C; Leonard, William R; Lange, Nicholas

    2014-09-01

    The high energetic costs of human brain development have been hypothesized to explain distinctive human traits, including exceptionally slow and protracted preadult growth. Although widely assumed to constrain life-history evolution, the metabolic requirements of the growing human brain are unknown. We combined previously collected PET and MRI data to calculate the human brain's glucose use from birth to adulthood, which we compare with body growth rate. We evaluate the strength of brain-body metabolic trade-offs using the ratios of brain glucose uptake to the body's resting metabolic rate (RMR) and daily energy requirements (DER) expressed in glucose-gram equivalents (glucosermr% and glucoseder%). We find that glucosermr% and glucoseder% do not peak at birth (52.5% and 59.8% of RMR, or 35.4% and 38.7% of DER, for males and females, respectively), when relative brain size is largest, but rather in childhood (66.3% and 65.0% of RMR and 43.3% and 43.8% of DER). Body-weight growth (dw/dt) and both glucosermr% and glucoseder% are strongly, inversely related: soon after birth, increases in brain glucose demand are accompanied by proportionate decreases in dw/dt. Ages of peak brain glucose demand and lowest dw/dt co-occur and subsequent developmental declines in brain metabolism are matched by proportionate increases in dw/dt until puberty. The finding that human brain glucose demands peak during childhood, and evidence that brain metabolism and body growth rate covary inversely across development, support the hypothesis that the high costs of human brain development require compensatory slowing of body growth rate. PMID:25157149

  12. Metabolic costs and evolutionary implications of human brain development.

    PubMed

    Kuzawa, Christopher W; Chugani, Harry T; Grossman, Lawrence I; Lipovich, Leonard; Muzik, Otto; Hof, Patrick R; Wildman, Derek E; Sherwood, Chet C; Leonard, William R; Lange, Nicholas

    2014-09-01

    The high energetic costs of human brain development have been hypothesized to explain distinctive human traits, including exceptionally slow and protracted preadult growth. Although widely assumed to constrain life-history evolution, the metabolic requirements of the growing human brain are unknown. We combined previously collected PET and MRI data to calculate the human brain's glucose use from birth to adulthood, which we compare with body growth rate. We evaluate the strength of brain-body metabolic trade-offs using the ratios of brain glucose uptake to the body's resting metabolic rate (RMR) and daily energy requirements (DER) expressed in glucose-gram equivalents (glucosermr% and glucoseder%). We find that glucosermr% and glucoseder% do not peak at birth (52.5% and 59.8% of RMR, or 35.4% and 38.7% of DER, for males and females, respectively), when relative brain size is largest, but rather in childhood (66.3% and 65.0% of RMR and 43.3% and 43.8% of DER). Body-weight growth (dw/dt) and both glucosermr% and glucoseder% are strongly, inversely related: soon after birth, increases in brain glucose demand are accompanied by proportionate decreases in dw/dt. Ages of peak brain glucose demand and lowest dw/dt co-occur and subsequent developmental declines in brain metabolism are matched by proportionate increases in dw/dt until puberty. The finding that human brain glucose demands peak during childhood, and evidence that brain metabolism and body growth rate covary inversely across development, support the hypothesis that the high costs of human brain development require compensatory slowing of body growth rate.

  13. A Direct Brain-to-Brain Interface in Humans

    PubMed Central

    Rao, Rajesh P. N.; Stocco, Andrea; Bryan, Matthew; Sarma, Devapratim; Youngquist, Tiffany M.; Wu, Joseph; Prat, Chantel S.

    2014-01-01

    We describe the first direct brain-to-brain interface in humans and present results from experiments involving six different subjects. Our non-invasive interface, demonstrated originally in August 2013, combines electroencephalography (EEG) for recording brain signals with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for delivering information to the brain. We illustrate our method using a visuomotor task in which two humans must cooperate through direct brain-to-brain communication to achieve a desired goal in a computer game. The brain-to-brain interface detects motor imagery in EEG signals recorded from one subject (the “sender”) and transmits this information over the internet to the motor cortex region of a second subject (the “receiver”). This allows the sender to cause a desired motor response in the receiver (a press on a touchpad) via TMS. We quantify the performance of the brain-to-brain interface in terms of the amount of information transmitted as well as the accuracies attained in (1) decoding the sender’s signals, (2) generating a motor response from the receiver upon stimulation, and (3) achieving the overall goal in the cooperative visuomotor task. Our results provide evidence for a rudimentary form of direct information transmission from one human brain to another using non-invasive means. PMID:25372285

  14. Physical biology of human brain development

    PubMed Central

    Budday, Silvia; Steinmann, Paul; Kuhl, Ellen

    2015-01-01

    Neurodevelopment is a complex, dynamic process that involves a precisely orchestrated sequence of genetic, environmental, biochemical, and physical events. Developmental biology and genetics have shaped our understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms during neurodevelopment. Recent studies suggest that physical forces play a central role in translating these cellular mechanisms into the complex surface morphology of the human brain. However, the precise impact of neuronal differentiation, migration, and connection on the physical forces during cortical folding remains unknown. Here we review the cellular mechanisms of neurodevelopment with a view toward surface morphogenesis, pattern selection, and evolution of shape. We revisit cortical folding as the instability problem of constrained differential growth in a multi-layered system. To identify the contributing factors of differential growth, we map out the timeline of neurodevelopment in humans and highlight the cellular events associated with extreme radial and tangential expansion. We demonstrate how computational modeling of differential growth can bridge the scales–from phenomena on the cellular level toward form and function on the organ level–to make quantitative, personalized predictions. Physics-based models can quantify cortical stresses, identify critical folding conditions, rationalize pattern selection, and predict gyral wavelengths and gyrification indices. We illustrate that physical forces can explain cortical malformations as emergent properties of developmental disorders. Combining biology and physics holds promise to advance our understanding of human brain development and enable early diagnostics of cortical malformations with the ultimate goal to improve treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders including epilepsy, autism spectrum disorders, and schizophrenia. PMID:26217183

  15. Human evolution: taxonomy and paleobiology

    PubMed Central

    WOOD, BERNARD; RICHMOND, BRIAN G.

    2000-01-01

    This review begins by setting out the context and the scope of human evolution. Several classes of evidence, morphological, molecular, and genetic, support a particularly close relationship between modern humans and the species within the genus Pan, the chimpanzee. Thus human evolution is the study of the lineage, or clade, comprising species more closely related to modern humans than to chimpanzees. Its stem species is the so-called ‘common hominin ancestor’, and its only extant member is Homo sapiens. This clade contains all the species more closely-related to modern humans than to any other living primate. Until recently, these species were all subsumed into a family, Hominidae, but this group is now more usually recognised as a tribe, the Hominini. The rest of the review sets out the formal nomenclature, history of discovery, and information about the characteristic morphology, and its behavioural implications, of the species presently included in the human clade. The taxa are considered within their assigned genera, beginning with the most primitive and finishing with Homo. Within genera, species are presented in order of geological age. The entries conclude with a list of the more important items of fossil evidence, and a summary of relevant taxonomic issues. PMID:10999270

  16. Task-Based Cohesive Evolution of Dynamic Brain Networks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davison, Elizabeth

    2014-03-01

    Applications of graph theory to neuroscience have resulted in significant progress towards a mechanistic understanding of the brain. Functional network representation of the brain has linked efficient network structure to psychometric intelligence and altered configurations with disease. Dynamic graphs provide us with tools to further study integral properties of the brain; specifically, the mathematical convention of hyperedges has allowed us to study the brain's cross-linked structure. Hyperedges capture the changes in network structure by identifying groups of brain regions with correlation patterns that change cohesively through time. We performed a hyperedge analysis on functional MRI data from 86 subjects and explored the cohesive evolution properties of their functional brain networks as they performed a series of tasks. Our results establish the hypergraph as a useful measure in understanding functional brain dynamics over tasks and reveal characteristic differences in the co-evolution structure of task-specific networks.

  17. Comparative primate neurobiology and the evolution of brain language systems.

    PubMed

    Rilling, James K

    2014-10-01

    Human brain specializations supporting language can be identified by comparing human with non-human primate brains. Comparisons with chimpanzees are critical in this endeavor. Human brains are much larger than non-human primate brains, but human language capabilities cannot be entirely explained by brain size. Human brain specializations that potentially support our capacity for language include firstly, wider cortical minicolumns in both Broca's and Wernicke's areas compared with great apes; secondly, leftward asymmetries in Broca's area volume and Wernicke's area minicolumn width that are not found in great apes; and thirdly, arcuate fasciculus projections beyond Wernicke's area to a region of expanded association cortex in the middle and inferior temporal cortex involved in processing word meaning.

  18. Human Brain Reacts to Transcranial Extraocular Light.

    PubMed

    Sun, Lihua; Peräkylä, Jari; Kovalainen, Anselmi; Ogawa, Keith H; Karhunen, Pekka J; Hartikainen, Kaisa M

    2016-01-01

    Transcranial extraocular light affects the brains of birds and modulates their seasonal changes in physiology and behavior. However, whether the human brain is sensitive to extraocular light is unknown. To test whether extraocular light has any effect on human brain functioning, we measured brain electrophysiology of 18 young healthy subjects using event-related potentials while they performed a visual attention task embedded with emotional distractors. Extraocular light delivered via ear canals abolished normal emotional modulation of attention related brain responses. With no extraocular light delivered, emotional distractors reduced centro-parietal P300 amplitude compared to neutral distractors. This phenomenon disappeared with extraocular light delivery. Extraocular light delivered through the ear canals was shown to penetrate at the base of the scull of a cadaver. Thus, we have shown that extraocular light impacts human brain functioning calling for further research on the mechanisms of action of light on the human brain.

  19. Human Brain Reacts to Transcranial Extraocular Light

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Lihua; Peräkylä, Jari; Kovalainen, Anselmi; Ogawa, Keith H.; Karhunen, Pekka J.; Hartikainen, Kaisa M.

    2016-01-01

    Transcranial extraocular light affects the brains of birds and modulates their seasonal changes in physiology and behavior. However, whether the human brain is sensitive to extraocular light is unknown. To test whether extraocular light has any effect on human brain functioning, we measured brain electrophysiology of 18 young healthy subjects using event-related potentials while they performed a visual attention task embedded with emotional distractors. Extraocular light delivered via ear canals abolished normal emotional modulation of attention related brain responses. With no extraocular light delivered, emotional distractors reduced centro-parietal P300 amplitude compared to neutral distractors. This phenomenon disappeared with extraocular light delivery. Extraocular light delivered through the ear canals was shown to penetrate at the base of the scull of a cadaver. Thus, we have shown that extraocular light impacts human brain functioning calling for further research on the mechanisms of action of light on the human brain. PMID:26910350

  20. Human Brain Reacts to Transcranial Extraocular Light.

    PubMed

    Sun, Lihua; Peräkylä, Jari; Kovalainen, Anselmi; Ogawa, Keith H; Karhunen, Pekka J; Hartikainen, Kaisa M

    2016-01-01

    Transcranial extraocular light affects the brains of birds and modulates their seasonal changes in physiology and behavior. However, whether the human brain is sensitive to extraocular light is unknown. To test whether extraocular light has any effect on human brain functioning, we measured brain electrophysiology of 18 young healthy subjects using event-related potentials while they performed a visual attention task embedded with emotional distractors. Extraocular light delivered via ear canals abolished normal emotional modulation of attention related brain responses. With no extraocular light delivered, emotional distractors reduced centro-parietal P300 amplitude compared to neutral distractors. This phenomenon disappeared with extraocular light delivery. Extraocular light delivered through the ear canals was shown to penetrate at the base of the scull of a cadaver. Thus, we have shown that extraocular light impacts human brain functioning calling for further research on the mechanisms of action of light on the human brain. PMID:26910350

  1. Two phylogenetic specializations in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Allman, John; Hakeem, Atiya; Watson, Karli

    2002-08-01

    In this study, two anatomical specializations of the brain in apes and humans are considered. One of these is a whole cortical area located in the frontal polar cortex (Brodmann's area 10), and the other is a morphologically distinctive cell type, the spindle neuron of the anterior cingulate cortex. The authors suggest that the spindle cells may relay to other parts of the brain--especially to area 10, the outcome of processing within the anterior cingulate cortex. This relay conveys the motivation to act. It particularly concerns the recognition of having committed an error that leads to the initiation of adaptive responses to these adverse events so as to reduce error commission. This capacity is related to the development of self-control as an individual matures and gains social insight. Although the anterior cingulate deals with the individual's immediate response to changing conditions, area 10 is involved in the retrieval of memories from the individual's past experience and the capacity to plan adaptive responses. The authors suggest that these neurobehavioral specializations are crucial aspects of intelligence as defined as the capacity to make adaptive responses to changing conditions. The authors further hypothesize that these specializations facilitated the evolution of the unique capacity for the intergenerational transfer of the food and information characteristic of human extended families. PMID:12194502

  2. Evolution education in Canada's museums: Where is human evolution?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bean, Sarah

    While an interest in the origin of human beings may be a cultural universal, there are various views and beliefs about how this event took place. In Canada, a recent (2010) Angus Reid survey revealed that only 61% of Canadians accepted that humans evolved over millions of years; 39% of the population either believed in creationism or did not accept evolution as a scientific fact. These statistics suggest that human evolution education is a topic that needs to be addressed. This thesis investigates the role of museums in public education about human evolution. Prior to this study, the number of Canadian museums with exhibits about this topic was unknown. Sixteen Canadian museums participated in this study, and the results demonstrated that only two had permanent exhibits on human evolution, and one creationist museum presented a biblically-based account of human origins. Here, it is argued that more of Canada's museums should consider incorporating human evolution education into their mandates.

  3. Evolutionary origins of human brain and spirituality.

    PubMed

    Henneberg, Maciej; Saniotis, Arthur

    2009-12-01

    Evolving brains produce minds. Minds operate on imaginary entities. Thus they can create what does not exist in the physical world. Spirits can be deified. Perception of spiritual entities is emotional--organic. Spirituality is a part of culture while culture is an adaptive mechanism of human groups as it allows for technology and social organization to support survival and reproduction. Humans are not rational, they are emotional. Most of explanations of the world, offered by various cultures, involve an element of "fiat", a will of a higher spiritual being, or a reference to some ideal. From this the rules of behaviour are deduced. These rules are necessary to maintain social peace and allow a complex unit consisting of individuals of both sexes and all ages to function in a way ensuring their reproductive success and thus survival. There is thus a direct biological benefit of complex ideological superstructure of culture. This complex superstructure most often takes a form of religion in which logic is mixed with appeals to emotions based on images of spiritual beings. God is a consequence of natural evolution. Whether a deity is a cause of this evolution is difficult to discover, but existence of a deity cannot be questioned.

  4. Genetic Changes Shaping the Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Bae, Byoung-il; Jayaraman, Divya; Walsh, Christopher A.

    2015-01-01

    Summary The development and function of our brain are governed by a genetic blueprint, which reflects dynamic changes over the history of evolution. Recent progress in genetics and genomics, facilitated by next-generation sequencing and single-cell sorting, has identified numerous genomic loci that are associated with a neuroanatomical or neurobehavioral phenotype. Here, we review some of the genetic changes in both protein-coding and noncoding regions that affect brain development and evolution, as well as recent progress in brain transcriptomics. Understanding these genetic changes may provide novel insights into neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia. PMID:25710529

  5. Metabolic costs and evolutionary implications of human brain development

    PubMed Central

    Kuzawa, Christopher W.; Chugani, Harry T.; Grossman, Lawrence I.; Lipovich, Leonard; Muzik, Otto; Hof, Patrick R.; Wildman, Derek E.; Sherwood, Chet C.; Leonard, William R.; Lange, Nicholas

    2014-01-01

    The high energetic costs of human brain development have been hypothesized to explain distinctive human traits, including exceptionally slow and protracted preadult growth. Although widely assumed to constrain life-history evolution, the metabolic requirements of the growing human brain are unknown. We combined previously collected PET and MRI data to calculate the human brain’s glucose use from birth to adulthood, which we compare with body growth rate. We evaluate the strength of brain–body metabolic trade-offs using the ratios of brain glucose uptake to the body’s resting metabolic rate (RMR) and daily energy requirements (DER) expressed in glucose-gram equivalents (glucosermr% and glucoseder%). We find that glucosermr% and glucoseder% do not peak at birth (52.5% and 59.8% of RMR, or 35.4% and 38.7% of DER, for males and females, respectively), when relative brain size is largest, but rather in childhood (66.3% and 65.0% of RMR and 43.3% and 43.8% of DER). Body-weight growth (dw/dt) and both glucosermr% and glucoseder% are strongly, inversely related: soon after birth, increases in brain glucose demand are accompanied by proportionate decreases in dw/dt. Ages of peak brain glucose demand and lowest dw/dt co-occur and subsequent developmental declines in brain metabolism are matched by proportionate increases in dw/dt until puberty. The finding that human brain glucose demands peak during childhood, and evidence that brain metabolism and body growth rate covary inversely across development, support the hypothesis that the high costs of human brain development require compensatory slowing of body growth rate. PMID:25157149

  6. Towards multimodal atlases of the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Toga, Arthur W.; Thompson, Paul M.; Mori, Susumu; Amunts, Katrin; Zilles, Karl

    2010-01-01

    Atlases of the human brain have an important impact on neuroscience. The emergence of ever more sophisticated imaging techniques, brain mapping methods and analytical strategies has the potential to revolutionize the concept of the brain atlas. Atlases can now combine data describing multiple aspects of brain structure or function at different scales from different subjects, yielding a truly integrative and comprehensive description of this organ. These integrative approaches have provided significant impetus for the human brain mapping initiatives, and have important applications in health and disease. PMID:17115077

  7. Neuron-based heredity and human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Gash, Don M.; Deane, Andrew S.

    2015-01-01

    It is widely recognized that human evolution has been driven by two systems of heredity: one DNA-based and the other based on the transmission of behaviorally acquired information via nervous system functions. The genetic system is ancient, going back to the appearance of life on Earth. It is responsible for the evolutionary processes described by Darwin. By comparison, the nervous system is relatively newly minted and in its highest form, responsible for ideation and mind-to-mind transmission of information. Here the informational capabilities and functions of the two systems are compared. While employing quite different mechanisms for encoding, storing and transmission of information, both systems perform these generic hereditary functions. Three additional features of neuron-based heredity in humans are identified: the ability to transfer hereditary information to other members of their population, not just progeny; a selection process for the information being transferred; and a profoundly shorter time span for creation and dissemination of survival-enhancing information in a population. The mechanisms underlying neuron-based heredity involve hippocampal neurogenesis and memory and learning processes modifying and creating new neural assemblages changing brain structure and functions. A fundamental process in rewiring brain circuitry is through increased neural activity (use) strengthening and increasing the number of synaptic connections. Decreased activity in circuitry (disuse) leads to loss of synapses. Use and disuse modifying an organ to bring about new modes of living, habits and functions are processes in line with Neolamarckian concepts of evolution (Packard, 1901). Evidence is presented of bipartite evolutionary processes—Darwinian and Neolamarckian—driving human descent from a common ancestor shared with the great apes. PMID:26136649

  8. Neuron-based heredity and human evolution.

    PubMed

    Gash, Don M; Deane, Andrew S

    2015-01-01

    It is widely recognized that human evolution has been driven by two systems of heredity: one DNA-based and the other based on the transmission of behaviorally acquired information via nervous system functions. The genetic system is ancient, going back to the appearance of life on Earth. It is responsible for the evolutionary processes described by Darwin. By comparison, the nervous system is relatively newly minted and in its highest form, responsible for ideation and mind-to-mind transmission of information. Here the informational capabilities and functions of the two systems are compared. While employing quite different mechanisms for encoding, storing and transmission of information, both systems perform these generic hereditary functions. Three additional features of neuron-based heredity in humans are identified: the ability to transfer hereditary information to other members of their population, not just progeny; a selection process for the information being transferred; and a profoundly shorter time span for creation and dissemination of survival-enhancing information in a population. The mechanisms underlying neuron-based heredity involve hippocampal neurogenesis and memory and learning processes modifying and creating new neural assemblages changing brain structure and functions. A fundamental process in rewiring brain circuitry is through increased neural activity (use) strengthening and increasing the number of synaptic connections. Decreased activity in circuitry (disuse) leads to loss of synapses. Use and disuse modifying an organ to bring about new modes of living, habits and functions are processes in line with Neolamarckian concepts of evolution (Packard, 1901). Evidence is presented of bipartite evolutionary processes-Darwinian and Neolamarckian-driving human descent from a common ancestor shared with the great apes.

  9. Mind, Brain and Education: A Decade of Evolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Schwartz, Marc

    2015-01-01

    This article examines the evolution of Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE), the field, alongside that of the International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES). The reflections stem mostly from my observations while serving as vice president, president-elect, and president of IMBES during the past 10 years. The article highlights the evolution…

  10. Brain development is similar in Neanderthals and modern humans.

    PubMed

    Ponce de León, Marcia S; Bienvenu, Thibaut; Akazawa, Takeru; Zollikofer, Christoph P E

    2016-07-25

    While the braincase of adult Neanderthals had a similar volume to that of modern humans from the same period, differences in endocranial shape suggest that brain morphology differed between modern humans and Neanderthals. When and how these differences arose during evolution and development is a topic of ongoing research, with potential implications for species-specific differences in brain and cognitive development, and in life history [1,2]. Earlier research suggested that Neanderthals followed an ancestral mode of brain development, similar to that of our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees [2-4]. Modern humans, by contrast, were suggested to follow a uniquely derived mode of brain development just after birth, giving rise to the characteristically globular shape of the adult human brain case [2,4,5]. Here, we re-examine this hypothesis using an extended sample of Neanderthal infants. We document endocranial development during the decisive first two years of postnatal life. The new data indicate that Neanderthals followed largely similar modes of endocranial development to modern humans. These findings challenge the notion that human brain and cognitive development after birth is uniquely derived [2,4]. PMID:27458909

  11. Decoding patterns of human brain activity.

    PubMed

    Tong, Frank; Pratte, Michael S

    2012-01-01

    Considerable information about mental states can be decoded from noninvasive measures of human brain activity. Analyses of brain activity patterns can reveal what a person is seeing, perceiving, attending to, or remembering. Moreover, multidimensional models can be used to investigate how the brain encodes complex visual scenes or abstract semantic information. Such feats of "brain reading" or "mind reading," though impressive, raise important conceptual, methodological, and ethical issues. What does successful decoding reveal about the cognitive functions performed by a brain region? How should brain signals be spatially selected and mathematically combined to ensure that decoding reflects inherent computations of the brain rather than those performed by the decoder? We highlight recent advances and describe how multivoxel pattern analysis can provide a window into mind-brain relationships with unprecedented specificity, when carefully applied. However, as brain-reading technology advances, issues of neuroethics and mental privacy will be important to consider.

  12. Natural Evolution and Human Consciousness

    PubMed Central

    Holmgren, Jan

    2014-01-01

    A visual conscious experience is my empirical basis. All that we know comes to us through conscious experiences. Thanks to natural evolution, we have nearly direct perception, and can largely trust the information we attain. There is full integration, with no gaps, of organisms in the continuous world. Human conscious experiences, on the other hand, are discrete. Consciousness has certain limits for its resolution. This is illustrated by the so-called light-cone, with consequences for foundations in physics. Traditional universals are replaced by feels and distributions. Conscious experiences can be ordered within a framework of conceptual spaces. Triple Aspect Monism (TAM) can represent the dynamics of conscious systems. However, to fully represent the creative power of human consciousness, an all-inclusive view is suggested: Multi Aspect Monism (MAM). PMID:24891802

  13. Androgens in human evolution. A new explanation of human evolution.

    PubMed

    Howard, J

    2001-01-01

    Human evolution consists of chronological changes in gene regulation of a continuous and relatively stable genome, activated by hormones, the production of which is intermittently affected by endogenous and exogenous forces. Periodic variations in the gonadal androgen, testosterone, and the adrenal androgen, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), significantly participated in all hominid transformations. The hominid characteristics of early Australopithecines are primarily a result of increased testosterone. The first significant cold of the early Pleistocene resulted in an increase in DHEA that simultaneously produced Homo and the robust Australopithecines. Subsequent Pleistocene climatic changes and differential reproduction produced changes in DHEA and testosterone ratios that caused extinction of the robust Australopithecines and further changes and continuation of Homo. Changes in testosterone and DHEA produce allometric and behavioral changes that are identifiable and vigorous in modern populations. PMID:11702658

  14. Androgens in human evolution. A new explanation of human evolution.

    PubMed

    Howard, J

    2001-01-01

    Human evolution consists of chronological changes in gene regulation of a continuous and relatively stable genome, activated by hormones, the production of which is intermittently affected by endogenous and exogenous forces. Periodic variations in the gonadal androgen, testosterone, and the adrenal androgen, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), significantly participated in all hominid transformations. The hominid characteristics of early Australopithecines are primarily a result of increased testosterone. The first significant cold of the early Pleistocene resulted in an increase in DHEA that simultaneously produced Homo and the robust Australopithecines. Subsequent Pleistocene climatic changes and differential reproduction produced changes in DHEA and testosterone ratios that caused extinction of the robust Australopithecines and further changes and continuation of Homo. Changes in testosterone and DHEA produce allometric and behavioral changes that are identifiable and vigorous in modern populations.

  15. Not all brains are made the same: new views on brain scaling in evolution.

    PubMed

    Herculano-Houzel, Suzana

    2011-01-01

    Evolution has generated mammalian brains that vary by a factor of over 100,000 in mass. Despite such tremendous diversity, brain scaling in mammalian evolution has tacitly been considered a homogeneous phenomenon in terms of numbers of neurons, neuronal density, and the ratio between glial and neuronal cells, with brains of different sizes viewed as similarly scaled-up or scaled-down versions of a shared basic plan. According to this traditional view, larger brains would have more neurons, smaller neuronal densities (and, hence, larger neurons), and larger glia/neuron ratios than smaller brains. Larger brains would also have a cerebellum that maintains its relative size constant and a cerebral cortex that becomes relatively larger to the point that brain evolution is often equated with cerebral cortical expansion. Here I review our recent data on the numbers of neuronal and nonneuronal cells that compose the brains of 28 mammalian species belonging to 3 large clades (Eulipotyphla, Glires, and Primata, plus the related Scandentia) and show that, contrary to the traditional notion of shared brain scaling, both the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum scale in size as clade-specific functions of their numbers of neurons. As a consequence, neuronal density and the glia/neuron ratio do not scale universally with structure mass and, most importantly, mammalian brains of a similar size can hold very different numbers of neurons. Remarkably, the increased relative size of the cerebral cortex in larger brains does not reflect an increased relative concentration of neurons in the structure. Instead, the cerebral cortex and cerebellum appear to gain neurons coordinately across mammalian species. Brain scaling in evolution, hence, should no longer be equated with an increasing dominance of the cerebral cortex but rather with the concerted addition of neurons to both the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum. Strikingly, all brains appear to gain nonneuronal cells in a similar

  16. Modeling human brain development with cerebral organoids.

    PubMed

    Muzio, Luca; Consalez, G Giacomo

    2013-01-01

    The recent discovery of a new three-dimensional culture system for the derivation of cerebral organoids from human induced pluripotent stem cells provides developmental neurobiologists with the first example of a three-dimensional framework for the study of human brain development. This innovative approach permits the in vitro assembly of a human embryonic brain rudiment that recapitulates the developing human cerebrum. Organoids contain progenitor populations that develop to yield mature cortical neuron subtypes, potentially allowing investigators to study complex brain diseases that lack appropriate animal models. PMID:24367992

  17. Vertebral numbers and human evolution.

    PubMed

    Williams, Scott A; Middleton, Emily R; Villamil, Catalina I; Shattuck, Milena R

    2016-01-01

    Ever since Tyson (1699), anatomists have noted and compared differences in the regional numbers of vertebrae among humans and other hominoids. Subsequent workers interpreted these differences in phylogenetic, functional, and behavioral frameworks and speculated on the history of vertebral numbers during human evolution. Even in a modern phylogenetic framework and with greatly expanded sample sizes of hominoid species, researchers' conclusions vary drastically, positing that hominins evolved from either a "long-backed" (numerically long lumbar column) or a "short-backed" (numerically short lumbar column) ancestor. We show that these disparate interpretations are due in part to the use of different criteria for what defines a lumbar vertebra, but argue that, regardless of which lumbar definition is used, hominins are similar to their great ape relatives in possessing a short trunk, a rare occurrence in mammals and one that defines the clade Hominoidea. Furthermore, we address the recent claim that the early hominin thoracolumbar configuration is not distinct from that of modern humans and conclude that early hominins show evidence of "cranial shifting," which might explain the anomalous morphology of several early hominin fossils. Finally, we evaluate the competing hypotheses on numbers of vertebrae and argue that the current data support a hominin ancestor with an African ape-like short trunk and lower back.

  18. Human-like brain hemispheric dominance in birdsong learning.

    PubMed

    Moorman, Sanne; Gobes, Sharon M H; Kuijpers, Maaike; Kerkhofs, Amber; Zandbergen, Matthijs A; Bolhuis, Johan J

    2012-07-31

    Unlike nonhuman primates, songbirds learn to vocalize very much like human infants acquire spoken language. In humans, Broca's area in the frontal lobe and Wernicke's area in the temporal lobe are crucially involved in speech production and perception, respectively. Songbirds have analogous brain regions that show a similar neural dissociation between vocal production and auditory perception and memory. In both humans and songbirds, there is evidence for lateralization of neural responsiveness in these brain regions. Human infants already show left-sided dominance in their brain activation when exposed to speech. Moreover, a memory-specific left-sided dominance in Wernicke's area for speech perception has been demonstrated in 2.5-mo-old babies. It is possible that auditory-vocal learning is associated with hemispheric dominance and that this association arose in songbirds and humans through convergent evolution. Therefore, we investigated whether there is similar song memory-related lateralization in the songbird brain. We exposed male zebra finches to tutor or unfamiliar song. We found left-sided dominance of neuronal activation in a Broca-like brain region (HVC, a letter-based name) of juvenile and adult zebra finch males, independent of the song stimulus presented. In addition, juvenile males showed left-sided dominance for tutor song but not for unfamiliar song in a Wernicke-like brain region (the caudomedial nidopallium). Thus, left-sided dominance in the caudomedial nidopallium was specific for the song-learning phase and was memory-related. These findings demonstrate a remarkable neural parallel between birdsong and human spoken language, and they have important consequences for our understanding of the evolution of auditory-vocal learning and its neural mechanisms.

  19. Brain evolution relating to family, play, and the separation call.

    PubMed

    MacLean, P D

    1985-04-01

    Mammals stem from the mammal-like reptiles (therapsids) that were widely prevalent in Pangaea 250 million years ago. In the evolutionary transition from reptiles to mammals, three key developments were (1) nursing, in conjunction with maternal care; (2) audiovocal communication for maintaining maternal-offspring contact; and (3) play. The separation call perhaps ranks as the earliest and most basic mammalian vocalization, while play may have functioned originally to promote harmony in the nest. How did such family related behavior develop? In its evolution, the forebrain of advanced mammals has expanded as a triune structure that anatomically and chemically reflects ancestral commonalities with reptiles, early mammals, and late mammals. Recent findings suggest that the development of the behavioral triad in question may have depended on the evolution of the thalamocingulate division of the limbic system, a derivative from early mammals. The thalamocingulate division (which has no distinctive counterpart in the reptilian brain) is, in turn, geared in with the prefrontal neocortex that, in human beings, may be inferred to play a key role in familial acculturation.

  20. Reconsidering the evolution of brain, cognition, and behavior in birds and mammals

    PubMed Central

    Willemet, Romain

    2013-01-01

    Despite decades of research, some of the most basic issues concerning the extraordinarily complex brains and behavior of birds and mammals, such as the factors responsible for the diversity of brain size and composition, are still unclear. This is partly due to a number of conceptual and methodological issues. Determining species and group differences in brain composition requires accounting for the presence of taxon-cerebrotypes and the use of precise statistical methods. The role of allometry in determining brain variables should be revised. In particular, bird and mammalian brains appear to have evolved in response to a variety of selective pressures influencing both brain size and composition. “Brain” and “cognition” are indeed meta-variables, made up of the variables that are ecologically relevant and evolutionarily selected. External indicators of species differences in cognition and behavior are limited by the complexity of these differences. Indeed, behavioral differences between species and individuals are caused by cognitive and affective components. Although intra-species variability forms the basis of species evolution, some of the mechanisms underlying individual differences in brain and behavior appear to differ from those between species. While many issues have persisted over the years because of a lack of appropriate data or methods to test them; several fallacies, particularly those related to the human brain, reflect scientists' preconceptions. The theoretical framework on the evolution of brain, cognition, and behavior in birds and mammals should be reconsidered with these biases in mind. PMID:23847570

  1. Transcranial magnetic stimulation and the human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hallett, Mark

    2000-07-01

    Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is rapidly developing as a powerful, non-invasive tool for studying the human brain. A pulsed magnetic field creates current flow in the brain and can temporarily excite or inhibit specific areas. TMS of motor cortex can produce a muscle twitch or block movement; TMS of occipital cortex can produce visual phosphenes or scotomas. TMS can also alter the functioning of the brain beyond the time of stimulation, offering potential for therapy.

  2. Protein phosphorylation systems in postmortem human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Walaas, S.I.; Perdahl-Wallace, E.; Winblad, B.; Greengard, P. )

    1989-01-01

    Protein phosphorylation systems regulated by cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cyclic AMP), or calcium in conjunction with calmodulin or phospholipid/diacylglycerol, have been studied by phosphorylation in vitro of particulate and soluble fractions from human postmortem brain samples. One-dimensional or two-dimensional gel electrophoretic protein separations were used for analysis. Protein phosphorylation catalyzed by cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase was found to be highly active in both particulate and soluble preparations throughout the human CNS, with groups of both widely distributed and region-specific substrates being observed in different brain nuclei. Dopamine-innervated parts of the basal ganglia and cerebral cortex contained the phosphoproteins previously observed in rodent basal ganglia. In contrast, calcium/phospholipid-dependent and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein phosphorylation systems were less prominent in human postmortem brain than in rodent brain, and only a few widely distributed substrates for these protein kinases were found. Protein staining indicated that postmortem proteolysis, particularly of high-molecular-mass proteins, was prominent in deeply located, subcortical regions in the human brain. Our results indicate that it is feasible to use human postmortem brain samples, when obtained under carefully controlled conditions, for qualitative studies on brain protein phosphorylation. Such studies should be of value in studies on human neurological and/or psychiatric disorders.

  3. Investigating Human Evolution Using Digital Imaging & Craniometry

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robertson, John C.

    2007-01-01

    Human evolution is an important and intriguing area of biology. The significance of evolution as a component of biology curricula, at all levels, can not be overstated; the need to make the most of opportunities to effectively educate students in evolution as a central and unifying realm of biology is paramount. Developing engaging laboratory or…

  4. Dating of Modern Human Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grun, R.

    Dating studies on palaoeanthropological sites is usually carried out on material associ- ated with the human remains, such as the sediment, charcoal or other fauna rather than the human specimen itself. The reason lies in the fact that most dating techniques are destructive and because the hominid remains are too rare to be sacrificed for dating. This indirect dating approach is in many cases not satisfactory, because: (i) the human remains are often buried into the sediments and the association with other materials is uncertain (e.g. Skhul, Qafzeh, etc.); (ii) faunal remains or minerals from the sediment are re-worked from older deposits (see e.g. present discussion of the age of the Homo erectus remains in Indonesia; (iii) the hominid fossils were discovered at a time when no careful excavations were carried out and it is impossible to correlate the specimen with other datable material (which applies tonearly 90% of all palaeoanthropological specimens). For example, the hominid burial site of Qafzeh in Israel has been dated by several independent dating laboratories with a multitude of methods. However, the data are still not accepted by some because the dating has not been carried out on the hominid specimen. Until recently, hominid fossils could only be dated by radiocarbon. This method reaches back to about 40,000 years. As a consequence, all the older fossils could not be analysed and many important questions in our understanding of human evolution could not be addressed. Human remains are scarce and extremely valuable, therefore any sort of destruction has to be kept to an absolute minimum. This is of particular importance in Australia where any human fossils are sacred. Thus, for the analysis of hominid material it was necessary to develop a more or less non-destructive techniques. This has been ac- complished in recent years by the application of ESR dating of tooth enamel and a combination of gamma spectrometric and TIMS U-series dating of bones. The exam

  5. Interoperable atlases of the human brain.

    PubMed

    Amunts, K; Hawrylycz, M J; Van Essen, D C; Van Horn, J D; Harel, N; Poline, J-B; De Martino, F; Bjaalie, J G; Dehaene-Lambertz, G; Dehaene, S; Valdes-Sosa, P; Thirion, B; Zilles, K; Hill, S L; Abrams, M B; Tass, P A; Vanduffel, W; Evans, A C; Eickhoff, S B

    2014-10-01

    The last two decades have seen an unprecedented development of human brain mapping approaches at various spatial and temporal scales. Together, these have provided a large fundus of information on many different aspects of the human brain including micro- and macrostructural segregation, regional specialization of function, connectivity, and temporal dynamics. Atlases are central in order to integrate such diverse information in a topographically meaningful way. It is noteworthy, that the brain mapping field has been developed along several major lines such as structure vs. function, postmortem vs. in vivo, individual features of the brain vs. population-based aspects, or slow vs. fast dynamics. In order to understand human brain organization, however, it seems inevitable that these different lines are integrated and combined into a multimodal human brain model. To this aim, we held a workshop to determine the constraints of a multi-modal human brain model that are needed to enable (i) an integration of different spatial and temporal scales and data modalities into a common reference system, and (ii) efficient data exchange and analysis. As detailed in this report, to arrive at fully interoperable atlases of the human brain will still require much work at the frontiers of data acquisition, analysis, and representation. Among them, the latter may provide the most challenging task, in particular when it comes to representing features of vastly different scales of space, time and abstraction. The potential benefits of such endeavor, however, clearly outweigh the problems, as only such kind of multi-modal human brain atlas may provide a starting point from which the complex relationships between structure, function, and connectivity may be explored.

  6. Red ochre and shells: clues to human evolution.

    PubMed

    Duarte, Carlos M

    2014-10-01

    The 200-kiloannus (ka) use of red ochre and shells by humans is interpreted as a simple clue of symbolic thinking. Integration of multiple lines of evidence supports the opinion that the use of red ochre and shells might have had direct significance for human evolution. Use of seafood and red ochre supplies docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), possibly iron, and other essential nutrients for brain development and reproductive health, improving human fitness and triggering brain growth. The fitness advantages to humans of using shells, and possibly red ochre, might have selected for artistic and symbolic expression, and, thereby, lead to social cohesion. Current global health syndromes show that an adequate supply of seafood and iron continues to play a fundamental role in human health. PMID:25172406

  7. Behavioral Stochastic Resonance within the Human Brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kitajo, Keiichi; Nozaki, Daichi; Ward, Lawrence M.; Yamamoto, Yoshiharu

    2003-05-01

    We provide the first evidence that stochastic resonance within the human brain can enhance behavioral responses to weak sensory inputs. We asked subjects to adjust handgrip force to a slowly changing, subthreshold gray level signal presented to their right eye. Behavioral responses were optimized by presenting randomly changing gray levels separately to the left eye. The results indicate that observed behavioral stochastic resonance was mediated by neural activity within the human brain where the information from both eyes converges.

  8. Embracing covariation in brain evolution: large brains, extended development, and flexible primate social systems.

    PubMed

    Charvet, Christine J; Finlay, Barbara L

    2012-01-01

    Brain size, body size, developmental length, life span, costs of raising offspring, behavioral complexity, and social structures are correlated in mammals due to intrinsic life-history requirements. Dissecting variation and direction of causation in this web of relationships often draw attention away from the factors that correlate with basic life parameters. We consider the "social brain hypothesis," which postulates that overall brain and the isocortex are selectively enlarged to confer social abilities in primates, as an example of this enterprise and pitfalls. We consider patterns of brain scaling, modularity, flexibility of brain organization, the "leverage," and direction of selection on proposed dimensions. We conclude that the evidence supporting selective changes in isocortex or brain size for the isolated ability to manage social relationships is poor. Strong covariation in size and developmental duration coupled with flexible brains allow organisms to adapt in variable social and ecological environments across the life span and in evolution.

  9. Whole brain EEG synchronization likelihood modulated by long term evolution electromagnetic fields exposure.

    PubMed

    Lv, Bin; Su, Chang; Yang, Lei; Xie, Yi; Wu, Tongning

    2014-01-01

    In this paper, we aimed to investigate the possible interactions between human brain and radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) with electroencephalogram (EEG) technique. Unlike the previous studies which mainly focused on EMF effect on local brain activities, we attempted to evaluate whether the EMF emitted from Long Term Evolution (LTE) devices can modulate the functional connectivity of brain electrical activities. Ten subjects were recruited to participate in a crossover, double-blind exposure experiment which included two sessions (real and sham exposure). In each session, LTE EMF exposure (power on or off) lasted for 30 min and the EEG signals were collected with 32 channels throughout the experiment. Then we applied the synchronization likelihood method to quantify the neural synchronization over the whole brain in different frequency bands and in different EEG record periods. Our results illustrated that the short-term LTE EMF exposure would modulate the synchronization patterns of EEG activation across the whole brain.

  10. Protein Evolution of Human Milk.

    PubMed

    Thakkar, Sagar K; Giuffrida, Francesca; Bertschy, Emmanuelle; De Castro, Antonio; Destaillats, Frédéric; Lee, Le Ye

    2016-01-01

    Given the documented short- and long-term advantages of breastfeeding, human milk (HM) as a sole source of nutrition for the first few months of newborn life is considered a normative standard. Each macroconstituent of HM plays a crucial role in the growth and development of the baby. Lipids are largely responsible for providing more than 50% of the energy as well as providing essential fatty acids and minor lipids that are integral to all cell membranes. Carbohydrates can be broadly divided into lactose and oligosaccharides, which are a readily digestible source of glucose and indigestible nonnutritive components, respectively. Proteins in HM provide essential amino acids indispensable for the growth of infants. What is more interesting is that protein concentration profoundly changes from colostrum to mature milk. In this report, we share data from an observatory, single-center, longitudinal trial assessing the constituents of HM collected 30, 60 and 120 days postpartum from 50 mothers (singleton deliveries: 25 male and 25 female infants). The protein content decreased with evolving stages of lactation from an average of 1.45 to 1.38 g/100 ml. The data did not show any gender differences as it was reported for lipid content at 120 days postpartum by our group. Additionally, we also share consolidated literature data on protein evolution of HM during the first year of lactation. PMID:27336906

  11. Evolution of brain and culture: the neurological and cognitive journey from Australopithecus to Albert Einstein.

    PubMed

    Falk, Dean

    2016-06-20

    Fossil and comparative primatological evidence suggest that alterations in the development of prehistoric hominin infants kindled three consecutive evolutionary-developmental (evo-devo) trends that, ultimately, paved the way for the evolution of the human brain and cognition. In the earliest trend, infants' development of posture and locomotion became delayed because of anatomical changes that accompanied the prolonged evolution of bipedalism. Because modern humans have inherited these changes, our babies are much slower than other primates to reach developmental milestones such as standing, crawling, and walking. The delay in ancestral babies' physical development eventually precipitated an evolutionary reversal in which they became increasing unable to cling independently to their mothers. For the first time in prehistory, babies were, thus, periodically deprived of direct physical contact with their mothers. This prompted the emergence of a second evo-devo trend in which infants sought contact comfort from caregivers using evolved signals, including new ways of crying that are conserved in modern babies. Such signaling stimulated intense reciprocal interactions between prehistoric mothers and infants that seeded the eventual emergence of motherese and, subsequently, protolanguage. The third trend was for an extreme acceleration in brain growth that began prior to the last trimester of gestation and continued through infants' first postnatal year (early "brain spurt"). Conservation of this trend in modern babies explains why human brains reach adult sizes that are over three times those of chimpanzees. The fossil record of hominin cranial capacities together with comparative neuroanatomical data suggest that, around 3 million years ago, early brain spurts began to facilitate an evolutionary trajectory for increasingly large adult brains in association with neurological reorganization. The prehistoric increase in brain size eventually caused parturition to become

  12. Evolution of brain and culture: the neurological and cognitive journey from Australopithecus to Albert Einstein.

    PubMed

    Falk, Dean

    2016-06-20

    Fossil and comparative primatological evidence suggest that alterations in the development of prehistoric hominin infants kindled three consecutive evolutionary-developmental (evo-devo) trends that, ultimately, paved the way for the evolution of the human brain and cognition. In the earliest trend, infants' development of posture and locomotion became delayed because of anatomical changes that accompanied the prolonged evolution of bipedalism. Because modern humans have inherited these changes, our babies are much slower than other primates to reach developmental milestones such as standing, crawling, and walking. The delay in ancestral babies' physical development eventually precipitated an evolutionary reversal in which they became increasing unable to cling independently to their mothers. For the first time in prehistory, babies were, thus, periodically deprived of direct physical contact with their mothers. This prompted the emergence of a second evo-devo trend in which infants sought contact comfort from caregivers using evolved signals, including new ways of crying that are conserved in modern babies. Such signaling stimulated intense reciprocal interactions between prehistoric mothers and infants that seeded the eventual emergence of motherese and, subsequently, protolanguage. The third trend was for an extreme acceleration in brain growth that began prior to the last trimester of gestation and continued through infants' first postnatal year (early "brain spurt"). Conservation of this trend in modern babies explains why human brains reach adult sizes that are over three times those of chimpanzees. The fossil record of hominin cranial capacities together with comparative neuroanatomical data suggest that, around 3 million years ago, early brain spurts began to facilitate an evolutionary trajectory for increasingly large adult brains in association with neurological reorganization. The prehistoric increase in brain size eventually caused parturition to become

  13. Origin and Evolution of Deep Brain Stimulation

    PubMed Central

    Sironi, Vittorio A.

    2011-01-01

    This paper briefly describes how the electrical stimulation, used since antiquity to modulate the nervous system, has been a fundamental tool of neurophysiologic investigation in the second half of the eighteenth century and was subsequently used by the early twentieth century, even for therapeutic purposes. In mid-twentieth century the advent of stereotactic procedures has allowed the drift from lesional to stimulating technique of deep nuclei of the brain for therapeutic purposes. In this way, deep brain stimulation (DBS) was born, that, over the last two decades, has led to positive results for the treatment of medically refractory Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia. In recent years, the indications for therapeutic use of DBS have been extended to epilepsy, Tourette’s syndrome, psychiatric diseases (depression, obsessive–compulsive disorder), some kinds of headache, eating disorders, and the minimally conscious state. The potentials of the DBS for therapeutic use are fascinating, but there are still many unresolved technical and ethical problems, concerning the identification of the targets for each disease, the selection of the patients and the evaluation of the results. PMID:21887135

  14. Friends with social benefits: host-microbe interactions as a driver of brain evolution and development?

    PubMed Central

    Stilling, Roman M.; Bordenstein, Seth R.; Dinan, Timothy G.; Cryan, John F.

    2014-01-01

    The tight association of the human body with trillions of colonizing microbes that we observe today is the result of a long evolutionary history. Only very recently have we started to understand how this symbiosis also affects brain function and behavior. In this hypothesis and theory article, we propose how host-microbe associations potentially influenced mammalian brain evolution and development. In particular, we explore the integration of human brain development with evolution, symbiosis, and RNA biology, which together represent a “social triangle” that drives human social behavior and cognition. We argue that, in order to understand how inter-kingdom communication can affect brain adaptation and plasticity, it is inevitable to consider epigenetic mechanisms as important mediators of genome-microbiome interactions on an individual as well as a transgenerational time scale. Finally, we unite these interpretations with the hologenome theory of evolution. Taken together, we propose a tighter integration of neuroscience fields with host-associated microbiology by taking an evolutionary perspective. PMID:25401092

  15. Friends with social benefits: host-microbe interactions as a driver of brain evolution and development?

    PubMed

    Stilling, Roman M; Bordenstein, Seth R; Dinan, Timothy G; Cryan, John F

    2014-01-01

    The tight association of the human body with trillions of colonizing microbes that we observe today is the result of a long evolutionary history. Only very recently have we started to understand how this symbiosis also affects brain function and behavior. In this hypothesis and theory article, we propose how host-microbe associations potentially influenced mammalian brain evolution and development. In particular, we explore the integration of human brain development with evolution, symbiosis, and RNA biology, which together represent a "social triangle" that drives human social behavior and cognition. We argue that, in order to understand how inter-kingdom communication can affect brain adaptation and plasticity, it is inevitable to consider epigenetic mechanisms as important mediators of genome-microbiome interactions on an individual as well as a transgenerational time scale. Finally, we unite these interpretations with the hologenome theory of evolution. Taken together, we propose a tighter integration of neuroscience fields with host-associated microbiology by taking an evolutionary perspective.

  16. Inferential stereomorphology of human brain lesions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gedye, John L.

    1980-07-01

    I very much appreciated the invitation to contribute a paper to this Symposium on Applications of Human Biostereometrics, as it provides a valuable opportunity for me to take a fresh look at a problemâ€""the cerebral localisation of psychological function"â€"in which I have been interested for many years. This interest grew out of considerations of the clinically important problem of how we should go about the task of relating the form of the changes in human behavior consequent upon damage to the human brain following, say, head injury, to the form of the changes in brain morphology which constitute that damage, and related issues.

  17. The Path of Human Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feibel, C. S.

    2004-12-01

    A complex series of evolutionary steps, contingent upon a dynamic environmental context and a long biological heritage, have led to the ascent of Homo sapiens as a dominant component of the modern biosphere. In a field where missing links still abound and new discoveries regularly overturn theoretical paradigms, our understanding of the path of human evolution has made tremendous advances in recent years. Two major trends characterize the development of the hominin clade subsequent to its origins with the advent of upright bipedalism in the Late Miocene of Africa. One is a diversification into two prominent morphological branches, each with a series of 'twigs' representing evolutionary experimentation at the species or subspecies level. The second important trend, which in its earliest manifestations cannot clearly be ascribed to one or the other branch, is the behavioral complexity of an increasing reliance on technology to expand upon limited inherent morphological specializations and to buffer the organism from its environment. This technological dependence is directly associated with the expansion of hominin range outside Africa by the genus Homo, and is accelerated in the sole extant form Homo sapiens through the last 100 Ka. There are interesting correlates between the evolutionary and behavioral patterns seen in the hominin clade and environmental dynamics of the Neogene. In particular, the tempo of morphological and behavioral innovation may be tracking major events in Neogene climatic development as well as reflecting intervals of variability or stability. Major improvements in analytical techniques, coupled with important new collections and a growing body of contextual data are now making possible the integration of global, regional and local environmental archives with an improved biological understanding of the hominin clade to address questions of coincidence and causality.

  18. Human brain mapping: Experimental and computational approaches

    SciTech Connect

    Wood, C.C.; George, J.S.; Schmidt, D.M.; Aine, C.J.; Sanders, J.; Belliveau, J.

    1998-11-01

    This is the final report of a three-year, Laboratory-Directed Research and Development (LDRD) project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). This program developed project combined Los Alamos' and collaborators' strengths in noninvasive brain imaging and high performance computing to develop potential contributions to the multi-agency Human Brain Project led by the National Institute of Mental Health. The experimental component of the project emphasized the optimization of spatial and temporal resolution of functional brain imaging by combining: (a) structural MRI measurements of brain anatomy; (b) functional MRI measurements of blood flow and oxygenation; and (c) MEG measurements of time-resolved neuronal population currents. The computational component of the project emphasized development of a high-resolution 3-D volumetric model of the brain based on anatomical MRI, in which structural and functional information from multiple imaging modalities can be integrated into a single computational framework for modeling, visualization, and database representation.

  19. Noise-induced sensitization of human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamamoto, Yoshiharu; Hidaka, Ichiro; Nozaki, Daichi; Iso-o, Noriko; Soma, Rika; Kwak, Shin

    2002-11-01

    In the past decade, it has been recognized that noise can enhance the response of nonlinear systems to weak signals, via a mechanism known as stochastic resonance (SR). Particularly, the concept of SR has generated considerable interest in sensory biology, because it has been shown in several experimental studies that noise can assist neural systems in detecting weak signals which could not be detected in its absence. Recently, we have shown a similar type of noise-induced sensitization of human brain; externally added noise to the brain stem baroreflex centers sensitized their responses in maintaining adequate blood perfusion to the brain itself. Furthermore, the addition of noise has also shown to be useful in compensating for dysfunctions of the baroreflex centers in certain neurological diseases. It is concluded that the statistical physics concept of SR could be useful in sensitizing human brain in health and disease.

  20. Cytogenetics of human brain tumors

    SciTech Connect

    Finkernagel, S.W.; Kletz, T.; Day-Salvatore, D.L.

    1994-09-01

    Chromosome studies of 55 brain tumors, including meningiomas, gliomas, astrocyomas and pituatary adenomas, were performed. Primary and first passage cultures were successfully obtained in 75% of these samples with an average of 18 G-banded metaphases analyzed per tumor. 44% of all the brain tumors showed numerical and or structural abnormalities. 46% of the primary and 38% of the first passage cultures showed similar numerical gains/losses and complex karyotypic changes. The most frequent numerical abnormalities (n {ge} 5) included loss of chromosomes 10, 22, and Y. The structural abnormalities most often seen involved 1p, 2, 5, 7, 17q and 19. This is an ongoing study which will attempt to correlate tumor type with specific karyotypic changes and to see if any of the observed chromosomal abnormalities provide prognostic indicators.

  1. Science as a (TRANSITORY?) Phase in Human Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leibowitz, Elia

    One of the key elements of human knowledge in the last 150 years is the recognition that the universe, as well as each of its components, are in a permanent stage of evolution. Mankind and human affairs are of course no exceptions. Human beings owe their biological supremacy to the possession of a form of inheritance quite unlike that of other animals: exogenetic heredity. They have a non genetic channel for transmitting information from one generation to another, namely, the entire apparatus of culture. As information is correlated with brain structure, culture is a non genetic means to create patterns in human brains. It therefore plays a major role in human evolution. This apparatus by itself is however also undergoing a process of evolution. Using examples of astronomical, cosmological and other cultural concepts and argumentations, I shall show that throughout recorded human history, 4 distinct phases can be recognized in the evolution of this non genetic apparatus. The latest phase, the beginning of which is symbolized by the life and work of Galileo, is the "scientific" era. At the turn of the millenium, humankind is possibly at a transition state, from the "scientific" towards a new phase that may be termed a "public relation" or "propaganda" era. Causes for this transition can be found among recent developments in mass media and communications. These, in turn, are correlated with modern, 20th century trends in economy, technology and sociology that are other dominants factors in this transition. The apparent decline of the "scientific" culture may have profound consequences on the future evolution of mankind.

  2. Imaging the Addicted Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Fowler, Joanna S.; Volkow, Nora D.; Kassed, Cheryl A.; Chang, Linda

    2007-01-01

    Modern imaging techniques enable researchers to observe drug actions and consequences as they occur and persist in the brains of abusing and addicted individuals. This article presents the five most commonly used techniques, explains how each produces images, and describes how researchers interpret them. The authors give examples of key findings illustrating how each technique has extended and deepened our knowledge of the neurobiological bases of drug abuse and addiction, and they address potential clinical and therapeutic applications. PMID:17514067

  3. The Brain Prize 2014: complex human functions.

    PubMed

    Grigaityte, Kristina; Iacoboni, Marco

    2014-11-01

    Giacomo Rizzolatti, Stanislas Dehaene, and Trevor Robbins were recently awarded the 2014 Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Prize for their 'pioneering research on higher brain mechanisms underpinning such complex human functions as literacy, numeracy, motivated behavior and social cognition, and for their effort to understand cognitive and behavioral disorders'. Why was their work highlighted? Is there anything that links together these seemingly disparate lines of research?

  4. Stem Cell Models of Human Brain Development.

    PubMed

    Kelava, Iva; Lancaster, Madeline A

    2016-06-01

    Recent breakthroughs in pluripotent stem cell technologies have enabled a new class of in vitro systems for functional modeling of human brain development. These advances, in combination with improvements in neural differentiation methods, allow the generation of in vitro systems that reproduce many in vivo features of the brain with remarkable similarity. Here, we describe advances in the development of these methods, focusing on neural rosette and organoid approaches, and compare their relative capabilities and limitations. We also discuss current technical hurdles for recreating the cell-type complexity and spatial architecture of the brain in culture and offer potential solutions.

  5. What can monotremes tell us about brain evolution?

    PubMed

    Krubitzer, L

    1998-07-29

    The present review outlines studies of electrophsyiological organization, cortical architecture and thalmocortical and corticocortical connections in monotremes. Results of these studies indicate that the neocortex of monotremes has many features in common with other mammals. In particular, monotremes have at least two, and in some instances three, sensory fields for each modality, as well as regions of bimodal cortex. The internal organization of cortical fields and thalamocortical projection patterns are also similar to those described for other mammals. However, unlike most mammals investigated, the monotreme neocortex has cortical connections between primary sensory fields, such as SI and VI. The results of this analysis lead us to pose the question of what monotremes can tell us about brain evolution. Monotremes alone can tell us very little about the evolutionary process, or the construction of complex neural networks, as an individual species represents only a single example of what the process is capable of generating. Perhaps a better question is: what can comparative studies tell us about brain evolution? Monotreme brains, when compared with the brains of other animals, can provide some answers to questions about the evolution of the neocortex, the historical precedence of some features over others, and how basic circuits were modified in different lineages. This, in turn, allows us to appreciate how normal circuits function, and to pose very specific questions regarding the development of the neocortex.

  6. Seasonality in human cognitive brain responses

    PubMed Central

    Meyer, Christelle; Muto, Vincenzo; Jaspar, Mathieu; Kussé, Caroline; Lambot, Erik; Chellappa, Sarah L.; Degueldre, Christian; Balteau, Evelyne; Luxen, André; Middleton, Benita; Archer, Simon N.; Collette, Fabienne; Dijk, Derk-Jan; Phillips, Christophe; Maquet, Pierre; Vandewalle, Gilles

    2016-01-01

    Daily variations in the environment have shaped life on Earth, with circadian cycles identified in most living organisms. Likewise, seasons correspond to annual environmental fluctuations to which organisms have adapted. However, little is known about seasonal variations in human brain physiology. We investigated annual rhythms of brain activity in a cross-sectional study of healthy young participants. They were maintained in an environment free of seasonal cues for 4.5 d, after which brain responses were assessed using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while they performed two different cognitive tasks. Brain responses to both tasks varied significantly across seasons, but the phase of these annual rhythms was strikingly different, speaking for a complex impact of season on human brain function. For the sustained attention task, the maximum and minimum responses were located around summer and winter solstices, respectively, whereas for the working memory task, maximum and minimum responses were observed around autumn and spring equinoxes. These findings reveal previously unappreciated process-specific seasonality in human cognitive brain function that could contribute to intraindividual cognitive changes at specific times of year and changes in affective control in vulnerable populations. PMID:26858432

  7. Exceptional evolutionary divergence of human muscle and brain metabolomes parallels human cognitive and physical uniqueness.

    PubMed

    Bozek, Katarzyna; Wei, Yuning; Yan, Zheng; Liu, Xiling; Xiong, Jieyi; Sugimoto, Masahiro; Tomita, Masaru; Pääbo, Svante; Pieszek, Raik; Sherwood, Chet C; Hof, Patrick R; Ely, John J; Steinhauser, Dirk; Willmitzer, Lothar; Bangsbo, Jens; Hansson, Ola; Call, Josep; Giavalisco, Patrick; Khaitovich, Philipp

    2014-05-01

    Metabolite concentrations reflect the physiological states of tissues and cells. However, the role of metabolic changes in species evolution is currently unknown. Here, we present a study of metabolome evolution conducted in three brain regions and two non-neural tissues from humans, chimpanzees, macaque monkeys, and mice based on over 10,000 hydrophilic compounds. While chimpanzee, macaque, and mouse metabolomes diverge following the genetic distances among species, we detect remarkable acceleration of metabolome evolution in human prefrontal cortex and skeletal muscle affecting neural and energy metabolism pathways. These metabolic changes could not be attributed to environmental conditions and were confirmed against the expression of their corresponding enzymes. We further conducted muscle strength tests in humans, chimpanzees, and macaques. The results suggest that, while humans are characterized by superior cognition, their muscular performance might be markedly inferior to that of chimpanzees and macaque monkeys. PMID:24866127

  8. Exceptional Evolutionary Divergence of Human Muscle and Brain Metabolomes Parallels Human Cognitive and Physical Uniqueness

    PubMed Central

    Bozek, Katarzyna; Wei, Yuning; Yan, Zheng; Liu, Xiling; Xiong, Jieyi; Sugimoto, Masahiro; Tomita, Masaru; Pääbo, Svante; Pieszek, Raik; Sherwood, Chet C.; Hof, Patrick R.; Ely, John J.; Steinhauser, Dirk; Willmitzer, Lothar; Bangsbo, Jens; Hansson, Ola; Call, Josep; Giavalisco, Patrick; Khaitovich, Philipp

    2014-01-01

    Metabolite concentrations reflect the physiological states of tissues and cells. However, the role of metabolic changes in species evolution is currently unknown. Here, we present a study of metabolome evolution conducted in three brain regions and two non-neural tissues from humans, chimpanzees, macaque monkeys, and mice based on over 10,000 hydrophilic compounds. While chimpanzee, macaque, and mouse metabolomes diverge following the genetic distances among species, we detect remarkable acceleration of metabolome evolution in human prefrontal cortex and skeletal muscle affecting neural and energy metabolism pathways. These metabolic changes could not be attributed to environmental conditions and were confirmed against the expression of their corresponding enzymes. We further conducted muscle strength tests in humans, chimpanzees, and macaques. The results suggest that, while humans are characterized by superior cognition, their muscular performance might be markedly inferior to that of chimpanzees and macaque monkeys. PMID:24866127

  9. Reconstructing the ups and downs of primate brain evolution: implications for adaptive hypotheses and Homo floresiensis

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Brain size is a key adaptive trait. It is often assumed that increasing brain size was a general evolutionary trend in primates, yet recent fossil discoveries have documented brain size decreases in some lineages, raising the question of how general a trend there was for brains to increase in mass over evolutionary time. We present the first systematic phylogenetic analysis designed to answer this question. Results We performed ancestral state reconstructions of three traits (absolute brain mass, absolute body mass, relative brain mass) using 37 extant and 23 extinct primate species and three approaches to ancestral state reconstruction: parsimony, maximum likelihood and Bayesian Markov-chain Monte Carlo. Both absolute and relative brain mass generally increased over evolutionary time, but body mass did not. Nevertheless both absolute and relative brain mass decreased along several branches. Applying these results to the contentious case of Homo floresiensis, we find a number of scenarios under which the proposed evolution of Homo floresiensis' small brain appears to be consistent with patterns observed along other lineages, dependent on body mass and phylogenetic position. Conclusions Our results confirm that brain expansion began early in primate evolution and show that increases occurred in all major clades. Only in terms of an increase in absolute mass does the human lineage appear particularly striking, with both the rate of proportional change in mass and relative brain size having episodes of greater expansion elsewhere on the primate phylogeny. However, decreases in brain mass also occurred along branches in all major clades, and we conclude that, while selection has acted to enlarge primate brains, in some lineages this trend has been reversed. Further analyses of the phylogenetic position of Homo floresiensis and better body mass estimates are required to confirm the plausibility of the evolution of its small brain mass. We find that for our

  10. New thinking: the evolution of human cognition.

    PubMed

    Heyes, Cecilia

    2012-08-01

    Humans are animals that specialize in thinking and knowing, and our extraordinary cognitive abilities have transformed every aspect of our lives. In contrast to our chimpanzee cousins and Stone Age ancestors, we are complex political, economic, scientific and artistic creatures, living in a vast range of habitats, many of which are our own creation. Research on the evolution of human cognition asks what types of thinking make us such peculiar animals, and how they have been generated by evolutionary processes. New research in this field looks deeper into the evolutionary history of human cognition, and adopts a more multi-disciplinary approach than earlier 'Evolutionary Psychology'. It is informed by comparisons between humans and a range of primate and non-primate species, and integrates findings from anthropology, archaeology, economics, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, philosophy and psychology. Using these methods, recent research reveals profound commonalities, as well striking differences, between human and non-human minds, and suggests that the evolution of human cognition has been much more gradual and incremental than previously assumed. It accords crucial roles to cultural evolution, techno-social co-evolution and gene-culture co-evolution. These have produced domain-general developmental processes with extraordinary power-power that makes human cognition, and human lives, unique. PMID:22734052

  11. THE IMPORTANCE OF DIETARY CARBOHYDRATE IN HUMAN EVOLUTION.

    PubMed

    Hardy, Karen; Brand-Miller, Jennie; Brown, Katherine D; Thomas, Mark G; Copeland, Les

    2015-09-01

    ABSTRACT We propose that plant foods containing high quantities of starch were essential for the evolution of the human phenotype during the Pleistocene. Although previous studies have highlighted a stone tool-mediated shift from primarily plant-based to primarily meat-based diets as critical in the development of the brain and other human traits, we argue that digestible carbohydrates were also necessary to accommodate the increased metabolic demands of a growing brain. Furthermore, we acknowledge the adaptive role cooking played in improving the digestibility and palatability of key carbohydrates. We provide evidence that cooked starch, a source of preformed glucose, greatly increased energy availability to human tissues with high glucose demands, such as the brain, red blood cells, and the developing fetus. We also highlight the auxiliary role copy number variation in the salivary amylase genes may have played in increasing the importance of starch in human evolution following the origins of cooking. Salivary amylases are largely ineffective on raw crystalline starch, but cooking substantially increases both their energy-yielding potential and glycemia. Although uncertainties remain regarding the antiquity of cooking and the origins of salivary amylase gene copy number variation, the hypothesis we present makes a testable prediction that these events are correlated. PMID:26591850

  12. THE IMPORTANCE OF DIETARY CARBOHYDRATE IN HUMAN EVOLUTION.

    PubMed

    Hardy, Karen; Brand-Miller, Jennie; Brown, Katherine D; Thomas, Mark G; Copeland, Les

    2015-09-01

    ABSTRACT We propose that plant foods containing high quantities of starch were essential for the evolution of the human phenotype during the Pleistocene. Although previous studies have highlighted a stone tool-mediated shift from primarily plant-based to primarily meat-based diets as critical in the development of the brain and other human traits, we argue that digestible carbohydrates were also necessary to accommodate the increased metabolic demands of a growing brain. Furthermore, we acknowledge the adaptive role cooking played in improving the digestibility and palatability of key carbohydrates. We provide evidence that cooked starch, a source of preformed glucose, greatly increased energy availability to human tissues with high glucose demands, such as the brain, red blood cells, and the developing fetus. We also highlight the auxiliary role copy number variation in the salivary amylase genes may have played in increasing the importance of starch in human evolution following the origins of cooking. Salivary amylases are largely ineffective on raw crystalline starch, but cooking substantially increases both their energy-yielding potential and glycemia. Although uncertainties remain regarding the antiquity of cooking and the origins of salivary amylase gene copy number variation, the hypothesis we present makes a testable prediction that these events are correlated.

  13. The Infancy of the Human Brain.

    PubMed

    Dehaene-Lambertz, G; Spelke, E S

    2015-10-01

    The human infant brain is the only known machine able to master a natural language and develop explicit, symbolic, and communicable systems of knowledge that deliver rich representations of the external world. With the emergence of noninvasive brain imaging, we now have access to the unique neural machinery underlying these early accomplishments. After describing early cognitive capacities in the domains of language and number, we review recent findings that underline the strong continuity between human infants' and adults' neural architecture, with notably early hemispheric asymmetries and involvement of frontal areas. Studies of the strengths and limitations of early learning, and of brain dynamics in relation to regional maturational stages, promise to yield a better understanding of the sources of human cognitive achievements. PMID:26447575

  14. Art and brain: insights from neuropsychology, biology and evolution.

    PubMed

    Zaidel, Dahlia W

    2010-02-01

    Art is a uniquely human activity associated fundamentally with symbolic and abstract cognition. Its practice in human societies throughout the world, coupled with seeming non-functionality, has led to three major brain theories of art. (1) The localized brain regions and pathways theory links art to multiple neural regions. (2) The display of art and its aesthetics theory is tied to the biological motivation of courtship signals and mate selection strategies in animals. (3) The evolutionary theory links the symbolic nature of art to critical pivotal brain changes in Homo sapiens supporting increased development of language and hierarchical social grouping. Collectively, these theories point to art as a multi-process cognition dependent on diverse brain regions and on redundancy in art-related functional representation.

  15. Art and brain: insights from neuropsychology, biology and evolution

    PubMed Central

    Zaidel, Dahlia W

    2010-01-01

    Art is a uniquely human activity associated fundamentally with symbolic and abstract cognition. Its practice in human societies throughout the world, coupled with seeming non-functionality, has led to three major brain theories of art. (1) The localized brain regions and pathways theory links art to multiple neural regions. (2) The display of art and its aesthetics theory is tied to the biological motivation of courtship signals and mate selection strategies in animals. (3) The evolutionary theory links the symbolic nature of art to critical pivotal brain changes in Homo sapiens supporting increased development of language and hierarchical social grouping. Collectively, these theories point to art as a multi-process cognition dependent on diverse brain regions and on redundancy in art-related functional representation. PMID:19490399

  16. The History and Evolution of Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury Models.

    PubMed

    Povlishock, John

    2016-01-01

    This narrative provides a brief history of experimental animal model development for the study of traumatic brain injury. It draws upon a relatively rich history of early animal modeling that employed higher order animals to assess concussive brain injury while exploring the importance of head movement versus stabilization in evaluating the animal's response to injury. These themes are extended to the development of angular/rotational acceleration/deceleration models that also exploited brain movement to generate both the morbidity and pathology typically associated with human traumatic brain injury. Despite the significance of these early model systems, their limitations and overall practicality are discussed. Consideration is given to more contemporary rodent animal models that replicate individual/specific features of human injury, while via various transgenic technologies permitting the evaluation of injury-mediated pathways. The narrative closes on a reconsideration of higher order, porcine animal models of injury and their implication for preclinical/translational research. PMID:27604709

  17. Molecular evolution of the brain size regulator genes CDK5RAP2 and CENPJ.

    PubMed

    Evans, Patrick D; Vallender, Eric J; Lahn, Bruce T

    2006-06-21

    Primary microcephaly is a developmental defect of the brain characterized by severely reduced brain size but an absence of other overt abnormalities. Mutations in several loci have been linked to primary microcephaly. The underlying genes for two of these were recently identified as CDK5RAP2 and CENPJ. Here, we focus on CDK5RAP2 and show that the protein evolutionary rate of this gene is significantly higher in primates than rodents or carnivores. We further show that the evolutionary rate within primates is particularly high in the human and chimpanzee terminal branches. Thus, the pattern of molecular evolution seen in CDK5RAP2 appears to parallel, at least approximately, that seen in two other previously identified primary microcephaly genes, microcephalin and ASPM. We also briefly discuss CENPJ, which similarly exhibits higher rate of protein evolution in primates as compared to rodents and carnivores. Together, the evolutionary patterns of all four presently known primary microcephaly genes are consistent with the hypothesis that genes regulating brain size during development might also play a role in brain evolution in primates and especially humans. PMID:16631324

  18. Human intelligence and brain networks.

    PubMed

    Colom, Roberto; Karama, Sherif; Jung, Rex E; Haier, Richard J

    2010-01-01

    Intelligence can be defined as a general mental ability for reasoning, problem solving, and learning. Because of its general nature, intelligence integrates cognitive functions such as perception, attention, memory, language, or planning. On the basis of this definition, intelligence can be reliably measured by standardized tests with obtained scores predicting several broad social outcomes such as educational achievement, job performance, health, and longevity. A detailed understanding of the brain mechanisms underlying this general mental ability could provide significant individual and societal benefits. Structural and functional neuroimaging studies have generally supported a frontoparietal network relevant for intelligence. This same network has also been found to underlie cognitive functions related to perception, short-term memory storage, and language. The distributed nature of this network and its involvement in a wide range of cognitive functions fits well with the integrative nature of intelligence. A new key phase of research is beginning to investigate how functional networks relate to structural networks, with emphasis on how distributed brain areas communicate with each other.

  19. Human Maternal Brain Plasticity: Adaptation to Parenting.

    PubMed

    Kim, Pilyoung

    2016-09-01

    New mothers undergo dynamic neural changes that support positive adaptation to parenting and the development of mother-infant relationships. In this article, I review important psychological adaptations that mothers experience during pregnancy and the early postpartum period. I then review evidence of structural and functional plasticity in human mothers' brains, and explore how such plasticity supports mothers' psychological adaptation to parenting and sensitive maternal behaviors. Last, I discuss pregnancy and the early postpartum period as a window of vulnerabilities and opportunities when the human maternal brain is influenced by stress and psychopathology, but also receptive to interventions. PMID:27589497

  20. Evolution of the brain and social behavior in chimpanzees.

    PubMed

    Matsuzawa, Tetsuro

    2013-06-01

    The comparison of humans and chimpanzees is a unique way to highlight the evolutionary origins of human nature. This paper summarizes the most recent advances in the study of chimpanzee brains, cognition, and behavior. It covers the topics such as eye-tracking study, helping behavior, prefrontal WM volume increase during infancy, and fetal brain development. Based on the facts, the paper proposed the "social brain hypothesis". Chimpanzees are good at capturing images as a whole, while humans are better at understanding the meaning of what they see. Chimpanzees apparently focus on the salient objects, neglecting the social context. In contrast, humans always recognize things within the social context, paying preferential attention to people, as agents. This is consistent with the fact that humans are highly altruistic and collaborative from a very young age. Thus, humans have evolved towards increased collaboration and mutual support. This kind of evolutionary pressure may have provided the basis for the development of the human brain with its unique functions. PMID:23414685

  1. Membrane Na+-K+ ATPase inhibition mediated quantal model for brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Kurup, Ravi Kumar; Kurup, Parameswara Achutha

    2003-05-01

    The hypothalamus secretes an endogenous membrane Na+-K+ ATPase inhibitor, digoxin. A digoxin-mediated model of quantal perception is proposed. In the quantal state, self replication of self-organized macromolecules is possible. This leads to the origin of molecular organisms like prions. Macromolecules group together to form organelle, which in evolutionary terms are independent bacteria. The organelle/bacteria symbiotically cluster together to form the cell. The human organism, including the brain, can be visualized as an organized cluster or colony of unicellular, symbiotically grouped flagellated bacteria. Synaptic connections form in the bacterial cluster leading to the evolution of the primitive neuronal networks, and later the human brain. The role of quantal perception and the observer function of consciousness in the origin of matter is important. Symbiotically clustered intergalactic magnetotactic bacterial networks are important in the evolution of the universe.

  2. Revisiting Glycogen Content in the Human Brain.

    PubMed

    Öz, Gülin; DiNuzzo, Mauro; Kumar, Anjali; Moheet, Amir; Seaquist, Elizabeth R

    2015-12-01

    Glycogen provides an important glucose reservoir in the brain since the concentration of glucosyl units stored in glycogen is several fold higher than free glucose available in brain tissue. We have previously reported 3-4 µmol/g brain glycogen content using in vivo (13)C magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in conjunction with [1-(13)C]glucose administration in healthy humans, while higher levels were reported in the rodent brain. Due to the slow turnover of bulk brain glycogen in humans, complete turnover of the glycogen pool, estimated to take 3-5 days, was not observed in these prior studies. In an attempt to reach complete turnover and thereby steady state (13)C labeling in glycogen, here we administered [1-(13)C]glucose to healthy volunteers for 80 h. To eliminate any net glycogen synthesis during this period and thereby achieve an accurate estimate of glycogen concentration, volunteers were maintained at euglycemic blood glucose levels during [1-(13)C]glucose administration and (13)C-glycogen levels in the occipital lobe were measured by (13)C MRS approximately every 12 h. Finally, we fitted the data with a biophysical model that was recently developed to take into account the tiered structure of the glycogen molecule and additionally incorporated blood glucose levels and isotopic enrichments as input function in the model. We obtained excellent fits of the model to the (13)C-glycogen data, and glycogen content in the healthy human brain tissue was found to be 7.8 ± 0.3 µmol/g, a value substantially higher than previous estimates of glycogen content in the human brain.

  3. Essential fatty acids and human brain.

    PubMed

    Chang, Chia-Yu; Ke, Der-Shin; Chen, Jen-Yin

    2009-12-01

    The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat. We've learned in recent years that fatty acids are among the most crucial molecules that determine your brain's integrity and ability to perform. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required for maintenance of optimal health but they can not synthesized by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources. Clinical observation studies has related imbalance dietary intake of fatty acids to impaired brain performance and diseases. Most of the brain growth is completed by 5-6 years of age. The EFAs, particularly the omega-3 fatty acids, are important for brain development during both the fetal and postnatal period. Dietary decosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is needed for the optimum functional maturation of the retina and visual cortex, with visual acuity and mental development seemingly improved by extra DHA. Beyond their important role in building the brain structure, EFAs, as messengers, are involved in the synthesis and functions of brain neurotransmitters, and in the molecules of the immune system. Neuronal membranes contain phospholipid pools that are the reservoirs for the synthesis of specific lipid messengers on neuronal stimulation or injury. These messengers in turn participate in signaling cascades that can either promote neuronal injury or neuroprotection. The goal of this review is to give a new understanding of how EFAs determine our brain's integrity and performance, and to recall the neuropsychiatric disorders that may be influenced by them. As we further unlock the mystery of how fatty acids affect the brain and better understand the brain's critical dependence on specific EFAs, correct intake of the appropriate diet or supplements becomes one of the tasks we undertake in pursuit of optimal wellness.

  4. Magnetite pollution nanoparticles in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Maher, Barbara A; Ahmed, Imad A M; Karloukovski, Vassil; MacLaren, Donald A; Foulds, Penelope G; Allsop, David; Mann, David M A; Torres-Jardón, Ricardo; Calderon-Garciduenas, Lilian

    2016-09-27

    Biologically formed nanoparticles of the strongly magnetic mineral, magnetite, were first detected in the human brain over 20 y ago [Kirschvink JL, Kobayashi-Kirschvink A, Woodford BJ (1992) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 89(16):7683-7687]. Magnetite can have potentially large impacts on the brain due to its unique combination of redox activity, surface charge, and strongly magnetic behavior. We used magnetic analyses and electron microscopy to identify the abundant presence in the brain of magnetite nanoparticles that are consistent with high-temperature formation, suggesting, therefore, an external, not internal, source. Comprising a separate nanoparticle population from the euhedral particles ascribed to endogenous sources, these brain magnetites are often found with other transition metal nanoparticles, and they display rounded crystal morphologies and fused surface textures, reflecting crystallization upon cooling from an initially heated, iron-bearing source material. Such high-temperature magnetite nanospheres are ubiquitous and abundant in airborne particulate matter pollution. They arise as combustion-derived, iron-rich particles, often associated with other transition metal particles, which condense and/or oxidize upon airborne release. Those magnetite pollutant particles which are <∼200 nm in diameter can enter the brain directly via the olfactory bulb. Their presence proves that externally sourced iron-bearing nanoparticles, rather than their soluble compounds, can be transported directly into the brain, where they may pose hazard to human health. PMID:27601646

  5. Magnetite pollution nanoparticles in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Maher, Barbara A; Ahmed, Imad A M; Karloukovski, Vassil; MacLaren, Donald A; Foulds, Penelope G; Allsop, David; Mann, David M A; Torres-Jardón, Ricardo; Calderon-Garciduenas, Lilian

    2016-09-27

    Biologically formed nanoparticles of the strongly magnetic mineral, magnetite, were first detected in the human brain over 20 y ago [Kirschvink JL, Kobayashi-Kirschvink A, Woodford BJ (1992) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 89(16):7683-7687]. Magnetite can have potentially large impacts on the brain due to its unique combination of redox activity, surface charge, and strongly magnetic behavior. We used magnetic analyses and electron microscopy to identify the abundant presence in the brain of magnetite nanoparticles that are consistent with high-temperature formation, suggesting, therefore, an external, not internal, source. Comprising a separate nanoparticle population from the euhedral particles ascribed to endogenous sources, these brain magnetites are often found with other transition metal nanoparticles, and they display rounded crystal morphologies and fused surface textures, reflecting crystallization upon cooling from an initially heated, iron-bearing source material. Such high-temperature magnetite nanospheres are ubiquitous and abundant in airborne particulate matter pollution. They arise as combustion-derived, iron-rich particles, often associated with other transition metal particles, which condense and/or oxidize upon airborne release. Those magnetite pollutant particles which are <∼200 nm in diameter can enter the brain directly via the olfactory bulb. Their presence proves that externally sourced iron-bearing nanoparticles, rather than their soluble compounds, can be transported directly into the brain, where they may pose hazard to human health.

  6. Simple models of human brain functional networks.

    PubMed

    Vértes, Petra E; Alexander-Bloch, Aaron F; Gogtay, Nitin; Giedd, Jay N; Rapoport, Judith L; Bullmore, Edward T

    2012-04-10

    Human brain functional networks are embedded in anatomical space and have topological properties--small-worldness, modularity, fat-tailed degree distributions--that are comparable to many other complex networks. Although a sophisticated set of measures is available to describe the topology of brain networks, the selection pressures that drive their formation remain largely unknown. Here we consider generative models for the probability of a functional connection (an edge) between two cortical regions (nodes) separated by some Euclidean distance in anatomical space. In particular, we propose a model in which the embedded topology of brain networks emerges from two competing factors: a distance penalty based on the cost of maintaining long-range connections; and a topological term that favors links between regions sharing similar input. We show that, together, these two biologically plausible factors are sufficient to capture an impressive range of topological properties of functional brain networks. Model parameters estimated in one set of functional MRI (fMRI) data on normal volunteers provided a good fit to networks estimated in a second independent sample of fMRI data. Furthermore, slightly detuned model parameters also generated a reasonable simulation of the abnormal properties of brain functional networks in people with schizophrenia. We therefore anticipate that many aspects of brain network organization, in health and disease, may be parsimoniously explained by an economical clustering rule for the probability of functional connectivity between different brain areas.

  7. Tracing the LINEs of human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Ovchinnikov, Igor; Rubin, Adrienne; Swergold, Gary D.

    2002-01-01

    The amplification of DNA by LINE-1 (L1) retrotransposons has created a large fraction of the human genome. To better understand their role in human evolution we endeavored to delineate the L1 elements that have amplified since the emergence of the hominid lineage. We used an approach based on shared sequence variants to trace backwards from the currently amplifying Ta subfamily. The newly identified groups of insertions account for much of the molecular evolution of human L1s. We report the identification of a L1 subfamily that amplified both before and after the divergence of humans from our closest extant relatives. Progressively more modern groups of L1s include greater numbers of insertions. Our data are consistent with the hypothesis that the rate of L1 amplification has been increasing during recent human evolution. PMID:12138175

  8. Hemispherical map for the human brain cortex

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tosun, Duygu; Prince, Jerry L.

    2001-07-01

    Understanding the function of the human brain cortex is a primary goal in human brain mapping. Methods to unfold and flatten the cortical surface for visualization and measurement have been described in previous literature; but comparison across multiple subjects is still difficult because of the lack of a standard mapping technique. We describe a new approach that maps each hemisphere of the cortex to a portion of a sphere in a standard way, making comparison of anatomy and function across different subjects possible. Starting with a three-dimensional magnetic resonance image of the brain, the cortex is segmented and represented as a triangle mesh. Defining a cut around the corpus collosum identifies the left and right hemispheres. Together, the two hemispheres are mapped to the complex plane using a conformal mapping technique. A Mobius transformation, which is conformal, is used to transform the points on the complex plane so that a projective transformation maps each brain hemisphere onto a spherical segment comprising a sphere with a cap removed. We determined the best size of the spherical cap by minimizing the relative area distortion between hemispherical maps and original cortical surfaces. The relative area distortion between the hemispherical maps and the original cortical surfaces for fifteen human brains is analyzed.

  9. Evolution of Nova-Dependent Splicing Regulation in the Brain

    PubMed Central

    Živin, Marko; Darnell, Robert B

    2007-01-01

    A large number of alternative exons are spliced with tissue-specific patterns, but little is known about how such patterns have evolved. Here, we study the conservation of the neuron-specific splicing factors Nova1 and Nova2 and of the alternatively spliced exons they regulate in mouse brain. Whereas Nova RNA binding domains are 94% identical across vertebrate species, Nova-dependent splicing silencer and enhancer elements (YCAY clusters) show much greater divergence, as less than 50% of mouse YCAY clusters are conserved at orthologous positions in the zebrafish genome. To study the relation between the evolution of tissue-specific splicing and YCAY clusters, we compared the brain-specific splicing of Nova-regulated exons in zebrafish, chicken, and mouse. The presence of YCAY clusters in lower vertebrates invariably predicted conservation of brain-specific splicing across species, whereas their absence in lower vertebrates correlated with a loss of alternative splicing. We hypothesize that evolution of Nova-regulated splicing in higher vertebrates proceeds mainly through changes in cis-acting elements, that tissue-specific splicing might in some cases evolve in a single step corresponding to evolution of a YCAY cluster, and that the conservation level of YCAY clusters relates to the functions encoded by the regulated RNAs. PMID:17937501

  10. Structural brain correlates of human sleep oscillations.

    PubMed

    Saletin, Jared M; van der Helm, Els; Walker, Matthew P

    2013-12-01

    Sleep is strongly conserved within species, yet marked and perplexing inter-individual differences in sleep physiology are observed. Combining EEG sleep recordings and high-resolution structural brain imaging, here we demonstrate that the morphology of the human brain offers one explanatory factor of such inter-individual variability. Gray matter volume in interoceptive and exteroceptive cortices correlated with the expression of slower NREM sleep spindle frequencies, supporting their proposed role in sleep protection against conscious perception. Conversely, and consistent with an involvement in declarative memory processing, gray matter volume in bilateral hippocampus was associated with faster NREM sleep spindle frequencies. In contrast to spindles, gray matter volume in the homeostatic sleep-regulating center of the basal forebrain/hypothalamus, together with the medial prefrontal cortex, accounted for individual differences in NREM slow wave oscillations. Together, such findings indicate that the qualitative and quantitative expression of human sleep physiology is significantly related to anatomically specific differences in macroscopic brain structure.

  11. Brain evolution and development: adaptation, allometry and constraint.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, Stephen H; Mundy, Nicholas I; Barton, Robert A

    2016-09-14

    Phenotypic traits are products of two processes: evolution and development. But how do these processes combine to produce integrated phenotypes? Comparative studies identify consistent patterns of covariation, or allometries, between brain and body size, and between brain components, indicating the presence of significant constraints limiting independent evolution of separate parts. These constraints are poorly understood, but in principle could be either developmental or functional. The developmental constraints hypothesis suggests that individual components (brain and body size, or individual brain components) tend to evolve together because natural selection operates on relatively simple developmental mechanisms that affect the growth of all parts in a concerted manner. The functional constraints hypothesis suggests that correlated change reflects the action of selection on distributed functional systems connecting the different sub-components, predicting more complex patterns of mosaic change at the level of the functional systems and more complex genetic and developmental mechanisms. These hypotheses are not mutually exclusive but make different predictions. We review recent genetic and neurodevelopmental evidence, concluding that functional rather than developmental constraints are the main cause of the observed patterns.

  12. Brain evolution and development: adaptation, allometry and constraint

    PubMed Central

    Barton, Robert A.

    2016-01-01

    Phenotypic traits are products of two processes: evolution and development. But how do these processes combine to produce integrated phenotypes? Comparative studies identify consistent patterns of covariation, or allometries, between brain and body size, and between brain components, indicating the presence of significant constraints limiting independent evolution of separate parts. These constraints are poorly understood, but in principle could be either developmental or functional. The developmental constraints hypothesis suggests that individual components (brain and body size, or individual brain components) tend to evolve together because natural selection operates on relatively simple developmental mechanisms that affect the growth of all parts in a concerted manner. The functional constraints hypothesis suggests that correlated change reflects the action of selection on distributed functional systems connecting the different sub-components, predicting more complex patterns of mosaic change at the level of the functional systems and more complex genetic and developmental mechanisms. These hypotheses are not mutually exclusive but make different predictions. We review recent genetic and neurodevelopmental evidence, concluding that functional rather than developmental constraints are the main cause of the observed patterns. PMID:27629025

  13. Brain evolution and development: adaptation, allometry and constraint.

    PubMed

    Montgomery, Stephen H; Mundy, Nicholas I; Barton, Robert A

    2016-09-14

    Phenotypic traits are products of two processes: evolution and development. But how do these processes combine to produce integrated phenotypes? Comparative studies identify consistent patterns of covariation, or allometries, between brain and body size, and between brain components, indicating the presence of significant constraints limiting independent evolution of separate parts. These constraints are poorly understood, but in principle could be either developmental or functional. The developmental constraints hypothesis suggests that individual components (brain and body size, or individual brain components) tend to evolve together because natural selection operates on relatively simple developmental mechanisms that affect the growth of all parts in a concerted manner. The functional constraints hypothesis suggests that correlated change reflects the action of selection on distributed functional systems connecting the different sub-components, predicting more complex patterns of mosaic change at the level of the functional systems and more complex genetic and developmental mechanisms. These hypotheses are not mutually exclusive but make different predictions. We review recent genetic and neurodevelopmental evidence, concluding that functional rather than developmental constraints are the main cause of the observed patterns. PMID:27629025

  14. 'What' and 'where' in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Ungerleider, L G; Haxby, J V

    1994-04-01

    Multiple visual areas in the cortex of nonhuman primates are organized into two hierarchically organized and functionally specialized processing pathways, a 'ventral stream' for object vision and a 'dorsal stream' for spatial vision. Recent findings from positron emission tomography activation studies have localized these pathways within the human brain, yielding insights into cortical hierarchies, specialization of function, and attentional mechanisms. PMID:8038571

  15. On the Evolution of Human Language.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lieberman, Philip

    Human linguistic ability depends, in part, on the gradual evolution of man's supralaryngeal vocal tract. The anatomic basis of human speech production is the result of a long evolutionary process in which the Darwinian process of natural selection acted to retain mutations. For auditory perception, the listener operates in terms of the acoustic…

  16. The evolution of human cells in terms of protein innovation.

    PubMed

    Sardar, Adam J; Oates, Matt E; Fang, Hai; Forrest, Alistair R R; Kawaji, Hideya; Gough, Julian; Rackham, Owen J L

    2014-06-01

    Humans are composed of hundreds of cell types. As the genomic DNA of each somatic cell is identical, cell type is determined by what is expressed and when. Until recently, little has been reported about the determinants of human cell identity, particularly from the joint perspective of gene evolution and expression. Here, we chart the evolutionary past of all documented human cell types via the collective histories of proteins, the principal product of gene expression. FANTOM5 data provide cell-type-specific digital expression of human protein-coding genes and the SUPERFAMILY resource is used to provide protein domain annotation. The evolutionary epoch in which each protein was created is inferred by comparison with domain annotation of all other completely sequenced genomes. Studying the distribution across epochs of genes expressed in each cell type reveals insights into human cellular evolution in terms of protein innovation. For each cell type, its history of protein innovation is charted based on the genes it expresses. Combining the histories of all cell types enables us to create a timeline of cell evolution. This timeline identifies the possibility that our common ancestor Coelomata (cavity-forming animals) provided the innovation required for the innate immune system, whereas cells which now form the brain of human have followed a trajectory of continually accumulating novel proteins since Opisthokonta (boundary of animals and fungi). We conclude that exaptation of existing domain architectures into new contexts is the dominant source of cell-type-specific domain architectures.

  17. Pathways to language: fiber tracts in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Friederici, Angela D

    2009-04-01

    The human language function is not only based on the grey matter of circumscribed brain regions in the frontal and the temporal cortex but moreover on the white matter fiber tracts connecting these regions. Different pathways connecting frontal and temporal cortex have been identified. The dorsal pathway projecting from the posterior portion of Broca's area to the superior temporal region seems to be of particular importance for higher-order language functions. This pathway is particularly weak in non-human compared to human primates and in children compared to adults. It is therefore considered to be crucial for the evolution of human language, which is characterized by the ability to process syntactically complex sentences. PMID:19223226

  18. Law, evolution and the brain: applications and open questions.

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Owen D

    2004-01-01

    This paper discusses several issues at the intersection of law and brain science. It focuses principally on ways in which an improved understanding of how evolutionary processes affect brain function and human behaviour may improve law's ability to regulate behaviour. It explores sample uses of such 'evolutionary analysis in law' and also raises questions about how that analysis might be improved in the future. Among the discussed uses are: (i) clarifying cost-benefit analyses; (ii) providing theoretical foundation and potential predictive power; (iii) assessing comparative effectiveness of legal strategies; and (iv) revealing deep patterns in legal architecture. Throughout, the paper emphasizes the extent to which effective law requires: (i) building effective behavioural models; (ii) integrating life-science perspectives with social-science perspectives; (iii) considering the effects of brain biology on behaviours that law seeks to regulate; and (iv) examining the effects of evolutionary processes on brain design. PMID:15590611

  19. Imaging visual function of the human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Marg, E.

    1988-10-01

    Imaging of human brain structure and activity with particular reference to visual function is reviewed along with methods of obtaining the data including computed tomographic (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), and positron emission tomography (PET). The literature is reviewed and the potential for a new understanding of brain visual function is discussed. PET is reviewed from basic physical principles to the most recent visual brain findings with oxygen-15. It is shown that there is a potential for submillimeter localization of visual functions with sequentially different visual stimuli designed for the temporal separation of the responses. Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), a less expensive substitute for PET, is also discussed. MRS is covered from basic physical principles to the current state of the art of in vivo biochemical analysis. Future possible clinical applications are discussed. Improved understanding of the functional neural organization of vision and brain will open a window to maps and circuits of human brain function.119 references.

  20. Epilepsy: Extreme Events in the Human Brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lehnertz, Klaus

    The analysis of Xevents arising in dynamical systems with many degrees of freedom represents a challenge for many scientific fields. This is especially true for the open, dissipative, and adaptive system known as the human brain. Due to its complex structure, its immense functionality, and — as in the case of epilepsy — due to the coexistence of normal and abnormal functions, the brain can be regarded as one of the most complex and fascinating systems in nature. Data gathered so far show that the epileptic process exhibits a high spatial and temporal variability. Small, specific, regions of the brain are responsible for the generation of focal epileptic seizures, and the amount of time a patient spends actually having seizures is only a small fraction of his/her lifetime. In between these Xevents large parts of the brain exhibit normal functioning. Since the occurrence of seizures usually can not be explained by exogenous factors, and since the brain recovers its normal state after a seizure in the majority of cases, this might indicate that endogenous nonlinear (deterministic and/or stochastic) properties are involved in the control of these Xevents. In fact, converging evidence now indicates that (particularly) nonlinear approaches to the analysis of brain activity allow us to define precursors which, provided sufficient sensitivity and specificity can be obtained, might lead to the development of patient-specific seizure anticipation and seizure prevention strategies.

  1. Zika virus impairs growth in human neurospheres and brain organoids.

    PubMed

    Garcez, Patricia P; Loiola, Erick Correia; Madeiro da Costa, Rodrigo; Higa, Luiza M; Trindade, Pablo; Delvecchio, Rodrigo; Nascimento, Juliana Minardi; Brindeiro, Rodrigo; Tanuri, Amilcar; Rehen, Stevens K

    2016-05-13

    Since the emergence of Zika virus (ZIKV), reports of microcephaly have increased considerably in Brazil; however, causality between the viral epidemic and malformations in fetal brains needs further confirmation. We examined the effects of ZIKV infection in human neural stem cells growing as neurospheres and brain organoids. Using immunocytochemistry and electron microscopy, we showed that ZIKV targets human brain cells, reducing their viability and growth as neurospheres and brain organoids. These results suggest that ZIKV abrogates neurogenesis during human brain development.

  2. Magnetite biomineralization in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Kirschvink, J L; Kobayashi-Kirschvink, A; Woodford, B J

    1992-08-15

    Although the mineral magnetite (Fe3O4) is precipitated biochemically by bacteria, protists, and a variety of animals, it has not been documented previously in human tissue. Using an ultrasensitive superconducting magnetometer in a clean-lab environment, we have detected the presence of ferromagnetic material in a variety of tissues from the human brain. Magnetic particle extracts from solubilized brain tissues examined with high-resolution transmission electron microscopy, electron diffraction, and elemental analyses identify minerals in the magnetite-maghemite family, with many of the crystal morphologies and structures resembling strongly those precipitated by magnetotactic bacteria and fish. These magnetic and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy measurements imply the presence of a minimum of 5 million single-domain crystals per gram for most tissues in the brain and greater than 100 million crystals per gram for pia and dura. Magnetic property data indicate the crystals are in clumps of between 50 and 100 particles. Biogenic magnetite in the human brain may account for high-field saturation effects observed in the T1 and T2 values of magnetic resonance imaging and, perhaps, for a variety of biological effects of low-frequency magnetic fields.

  3. Human-specific hypomethylation of CENPJ, a key brain size regulator.

    PubMed

    Shi, Lei; Lin, Qiang; Su, Bing

    2014-03-01

    Both the enlarged brain and concurrent highly developed cognitive skills are often seen as distinctive characteristics that set humans apart from other primates. Despite this obvious differentiation, the genetic mechanisms that underlie such human-specific traits are not clearly understood. In particular, whether epigenetic regulations may play a key role in human brain evolution remain elusive. In this study, we used bisulfite sequencing to compare the methylation patterns of four known genes that regulate brain size (ASPM, CDK5RAP2, CENPJ, and MCPH1) in the prefrontal cortex among several primate species spanning the major lineages of primates (i.e., humans, great apes, lesser apes, and Old World monkeys). The results showed a human-specific hypomethylation in the 5' UTR of CENPJ in the brain, where methylation levels among humans are only about one-third of those found among nonhuman primates. Similar methylation patterns were also detected in liver, kidney, and heart tissues, although the between-species differences were much less pronounced than those in the brain. Further in vitro methylation assays indicated that the methylation status of the CENPJ promoter could influence its expression. We also detected a large difference in CENPJ expression in the human and nonhuman primate brains of both adult individuals and throughout the major stages of fetal brain development. The hypomethylation and comparatively high expression of CENPJ in the central nervous system of humans suggest that a human-specific--and likely heritable--epigenetic modification likely occurred during human evolution, potentially leading to a much larger neural progenitor pool during human brain development, which may have eventually contributed to the dramatically enlarged brain and highly developed cognitive abilities associated with humans. PMID:24288161

  4. Human-specific hypomethylation of CENPJ, a key brain size regulator.

    PubMed

    Shi, Lei; Lin, Qiang; Su, Bing

    2014-03-01

    Both the enlarged brain and concurrent highly developed cognitive skills are often seen as distinctive characteristics that set humans apart from other primates. Despite this obvious differentiation, the genetic mechanisms that underlie such human-specific traits are not clearly understood. In particular, whether epigenetic regulations may play a key role in human brain evolution remain elusive. In this study, we used bisulfite sequencing to compare the methylation patterns of four known genes that regulate brain size (ASPM, CDK5RAP2, CENPJ, and MCPH1) in the prefrontal cortex among several primate species spanning the major lineages of primates (i.e., humans, great apes, lesser apes, and Old World monkeys). The results showed a human-specific hypomethylation in the 5' UTR of CENPJ in the brain, where methylation levels among humans are only about one-third of those found among nonhuman primates. Similar methylation patterns were also detected in liver, kidney, and heart tissues, although the between-species differences were much less pronounced than those in the brain. Further in vitro methylation assays indicated that the methylation status of the CENPJ promoter could influence its expression. We also detected a large difference in CENPJ expression in the human and nonhuman primate brains of both adult individuals and throughout the major stages of fetal brain development. The hypomethylation and comparatively high expression of CENPJ in the central nervous system of humans suggest that a human-specific--and likely heritable--epigenetic modification likely occurred during human evolution, potentially leading to a much larger neural progenitor pool during human brain development, which may have eventually contributed to the dramatically enlarged brain and highly developed cognitive abilities associated with humans.

  5. The Human Brain Project and neuromorphic computing

    PubMed Central

    Calimera, Andrea; Macii, Enrico; Poncino, Massimo

    Summary Understanding how the brain manages billions of processing units connected via kilometers of fibers and trillions of synapses, while consuming a few tens of Watts could provide the key to a completely new category of hardware (neuromorphic computing systems). In order to achieve this, a paradigm shift for computing as a whole is needed, which will see it moving away from current “bit precise” computing models and towards new techniques that exploit the stochastic behavior of simple, reliable, very fast, low-power computing devices embedded in intensely recursive architectures. In this paper we summarize how these objectives will be pursued in the Human Brain Project. PMID:24139655

  6. Cortical Evolution: Judge the Brain by Its Cover

    PubMed Central

    Geschwind, Daniel H.; Rakic, Pasko

    2014-01-01

    To understand the emergence of human higher cognition, we must understand its biological substrate—the cerebral cortex, which considers itself the crowning achievement of evolution. Here, we describe how advances in developmental neurobiology, coupled with those in genetics, including adaptive protein evolution via gene duplications and the emergence of novel regulatory elements, can provide insights into the evolutionary mechanisms culminating in the human cerebrum. Given that the massive expansion of the cortical surface and elaboration of its connections in humans originates from developmental events, understanding the genetic regulation of cell number, neuronal migration to proper layers, columns, and regions, and ultimately their differentiation into specific phenotypes, is critical. The pre- and postnatal environment also interacts with the cellular substrate to yield a basic network that is refined via selection and elimination of synaptic connections, a process that is prolonged in humans. This knowledge provides essential insight into the pathogenesis of human-specific neuropsychiatric disorders. PMID:24183016

  7. Language evolution and human-computer interaction

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grudin, Jonathan; Norman, Donald A.

    1991-01-01

    Many of the issues that confront designers of interactive computer systems also appear in natural language evolution. Natural languages and human-computer interfaces share as their primary mission the support of extended 'dialogues' between responsive entities. Because in each case one participant is a human being, some of the pressures operating on natural languages, causing them to evolve in order to better support such dialogue, also operate on human-computer 'languages' or interfaces. This does not necessarily push interfaces in the direction of natural language - since one entity in this dialogue is not a human, this is not to be expected. Nonetheless, by discerning where the pressures that guide natural language evolution also appear in human-computer interaction, we can contribute to the design of computer systems and obtain a new perspective on natural languages.

  8. Infrasounds and biorhythms of the human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Panuszka, Ryszard; Damijan, Zbigniew; Kasprzak, Cezary; McGlothlin, James

    2002-05-01

    Low Frequency Noise (LFN) and infrasound has begun a new public health hazard. Evaluations of annoyance of (LFN) on human occupational health were based on standards where reactions of human auditory system and vibrations of parts of human body were small. Significant sensitivity has been observed on the central nervous system from infrasonic waves especially below 10 Hz. Observed follow-up effects in the brain gives incentive to study the relationship between parameters of waves and reactions obtained of biorhythms (EEG) and heart action (EKG). New results show the impact of LFN on the electrical potentials of the brain are dependent on the pressure waves on the human body. Electrical activity of circulatory system was also affected. Signals recorded in industrial workplaces were duplicated by loudspeakers and used to record data from a typical LFN spectra with 5 and 7 Hz in a laboratory chamber. External noise, electromagnetic fields, temperature, dust, and other elements were controlled. Results show not only a follow-up effect in the brain but also a result similar to arrhythmia in the heart. Relaxations effects were observed of people impacted by waves generated from natural sources such as streams and waterfalls.

  9. Human brain disease recreated in mice

    SciTech Connect

    Marx, J.

    1990-12-14

    In the early 1980s, neurologist Stanley Prusiner suggested that scrapie, an apparently infectious degenerative brain disease of sheep, could be transmitted by prions, infectious particles made just of protein - and containing no nucleic acids. But prion research has come a long way since then. In 1985, the cloning of the gene encoding the prion protein proved that it does in fact exist. And the gene turned out to be widely expressed in the brains of higher organisms, a result suggesting that the prion protein has a normal brain function that can somehow be subverted, leading to brain degeneration. Then studies done during the past 2 years suggested that specific mutations in the prion gene might cause two similar human brain diseases, Gerstmann-Straeussler-Scheinker syndrome (GSS) and Creutzfelt-Jakob disease. Now, Prusiner's group at the University of California, San Francisco, has used genetic engineering techniques to recreate GSS by transplanting the mutated prion gene into mice. Not only will the animal model help neurobiologists answer the many remaining questions about prions and how they work, but it may also shed some light on other neurodegenerative diseases as well.

  10. Broadband Criticality of Human Brain Network Synchronization

    PubMed Central

    Kitzbichler, Manfred G.; Smith, Marie L.; Christensen, Søren R.; Bullmore, Ed

    2009-01-01

    Self-organized criticality is an attractive model for human brain dynamics, but there has been little direct evidence for its existence in large-scale systems measured by neuroimaging. In general, critical systems are associated with fractal or power law scaling, long-range correlations in space and time, and rapid reconfiguration in response to external inputs. Here, we consider two measures of phase synchronization: the phase-lock interval, or duration of coupling between a pair of (neurophysiological) processes, and the lability of global synchronization of a (brain functional) network. Using computational simulations of two mechanistically distinct systems displaying complex dynamics, the Ising model and the Kuramoto model, we show that both synchronization metrics have power law probability distributions specifically when these systems are in a critical state. We then demonstrate power law scaling of both pairwise and global synchronization metrics in functional MRI and magnetoencephalographic data recorded from normal volunteers under resting conditions. These results strongly suggest that human brain functional systems exist in an endogenous state of dynamical criticality, characterized by a greater than random probability of both prolonged periods of phase-locking and occurrence of large rapid changes in the state of global synchronization, analogous to the neuronal “avalanches” previously described in cellular systems. Moreover, evidence for critical dynamics was identified consistently in neurophysiological systems operating at frequency intervals ranging from 0.05–0.11 to 62.5–125 Hz, confirming that criticality is a property of human brain functional network organization at all frequency intervals in the brain's physiological bandwidth. PMID:19300473

  11. Functional constraints in the evolution of brain circuits

    PubMed Central

    Bosman, Conrado A.; Aboitiz, Francisco

    2015-01-01

    Regardless of major anatomical and neurodevelopmental differences, the vertebrate isocortex shows a remarkably well-conserved organization. In the isocortex, reciprocal connections between excitatory and inhibitory neurons are distributed across multiple layers, encompassing modular, dynamical and recurrent functional networks during information processing. These dynamical brain networks are often organized in neuronal assemblies interacting through rhythmic phase relationships. Accordingly, these oscillatory interactions are observed across multiple brain scale levels, and they are associated with several sensory, motor, and cognitive processes. Most notably, oscillatory interactions are also found in the complete spectrum of vertebrates. Yet, it is unknown why this functional organization is so well conserved in evolution. In this perspective, we propose some ideas about how functional requirements of the isocortex can account for the evolutionary stability observed in microcircuits across vertebrates. We argue that isocortex architectures represent canonical microcircuits resulting from: (i) the early selection of neuronal architectures based on the oscillatory excitatory-inhibitory balance, which lead to the implementation of compartmentalized oscillations and (ii) the subsequent emergence of inferential coding strategies (predictive coding), which are able to expand computational capacities. We also argue that these functional constraints may be the result of several advantages that oscillatory activity contributes to brain network processes, such as information transmission and code reliability. In this manner, similarities in mesoscale brain circuitry and input-output organization between different vertebrate groups may reflect evolutionary constraints imposed by these functional requirements, which may or may not be traceable to a common ancestor. PMID:26388716

  12. Human-modified ecosystems and future evolution.

    PubMed

    Western, D

    2001-05-01

    Our global impact is finally receiving the scientific attention it deserves. The outcome will largely determine the future course of evolution. Human-modified ecosystems are shaped by our activities and their side effects. They share a common set of traits including simplified food webs, landscape homogenization, and high nutrient and energy inputs. Ecosystem simplification is the ecological hallmark of humanity and the reason for our evolutionary success. However, the side effects of our profligacy and poor resource practices are now so pervasive as to threaten our future no less than that of biological diversity itself. This article looks at human impact on ecosystems and the consequences for evolution. It concludes that future evolution will be shaped by our awareness of the global threats, our willingness to take action, and our ability to do so. Our ability is presently hampered by several factors, including the poor state of ecosystem and planetary knowledge, ignorance of human impact, lack of guidelines for sustainability, and a paucity of good policies, practices, and incentives for adopting those guidelines in daily life. Conservation philosophy, science, and practice must be framed against the reality of human-dominated ecosystems, rather than the separation of humanity and nature underlying the modern conservation movement. The steps scientists can take to imbed science in conservation and conservation in the societal process affecting the future of ecosystems and human well-being are discussed.

  13. Imaging Monoamine Oxidase in the Human Brain

    SciTech Connect

    Fowler, J. S.; Volkow, N. D.; Wang, G-J.; Logan, Jean

    1999-11-10

    Positron emission tomography (PET) studies mapping monoamine oxidase in the human brain have been used to measure the turnover rate for MAO B; to determine the minimum effective dose of a new MAO inhibitor drug lazabemide and to document MAO inhibition by cigarette smoke. These studies illustrate the power of PET and radiotracer chemistry to measure normal biochemical processes and to provide information on the effect of drug exposure on specific molecular targets.

  14. Reconstructing human evolution: Achievements, challenges, and opportunities

    PubMed Central

    Wood, Bernard

    2010-01-01

    This contribution reviews the evidence that has resolved the branching structure of the higher primate part of the tree of life and the substantial body of fossil evidence for human evolution. It considers some of the problems faced by those who try to interpret the taxonomy and systematics of the human fossil record. How do you to tell an early human taxon from one in a closely related clade? How do you determine the number of taxa represented in the human clade? How can homoplasy be recognized and factored into attempts to recover phylogeny? PMID:20445105

  15. The evolution of the human genome.

    PubMed

    Simonti, Corinne N; Capra, John A

    2015-12-01

    Human genomes hold a record of the evolutionary forces that have shaped our species. Advances in DNA sequencing, functional genomics, and population genetic modeling have deepened our understanding of human demographic history, natural selection, and many other long-studied topics. These advances have also revealed many previously underappreciated factors that influence the evolution of the human genome, including functional modifications to DNA and histones, conserved 3D topological chromatin domains, structural variation, and heterogeneous mutation patterns along the genome. Using evolutionary theory as a lens to study these phenomena will lead to significant breakthroughs in understanding what makes us human and why we get sick.

  16. Human brain evolution and the "Neuroevolutionary Time-depth Principle:" Implications for the Reclassification of fear-circuitry-related traits in DSM-V and for studying resilience to warzone-related posttraumatic stress disorder.

    PubMed

    Bracha, H Stefan

    2006-07-01

    The DSM-III, DSM-IV, DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10 have judiciously minimized discussion of etiologies to distance clinical psychiatry from Freudian psychoanalysis. With this goal mostly achieved, discussion of etiological factors should be reintroduced into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V). A research agenda for the DSM-V advocated the "development of a pathophysiologically based classification system". The author critically reviews the neuroevolutionary literature on stress-induced and fear circuitry disorders and related amygdala-driven, species-atypical fear behaviors of clinical severity in adult humans. Over 30 empirically testable/falsifiable predictions are presented. It is noted that in DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10, the classification of stress and fear circuitry disorders is neither mode-of-acquisition-based nor brain-evolution-based. For example, snake phobia (innate) and dog phobia (overconsolidational) are clustered together. Similarly, research on blood-injection-injury-type-specific phobia clusters two fears different in their innateness: 1) an arguably ontogenetic memory-trace-overconsolidation-based fear (hospital phobia) and 2) a hardwired (innate) fear of the sight of one's blood or a sharp object penetrating one's skin. Genetic architecture-charting of fear-circuitry-related traits has been challenging. Various, non-phenotype-based architectures can serve as targets for research. In this article, the author will propose one such alternative genetic architecture. This article was inspired by the following: A) Nesse's "Smoke-Detector Principle", B) the increasing suspicion that the "smooth" rather than "lumpy" distribution of complex psychiatric phenotypes (including fear-circuitry disorders) may in some cases be accounted for by oligogenic (and not necessarily polygenic) transmission, and C) insights from the initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome by the Chimpanzee Sequencing

  17. Human brain evolution and the "Neuroevolutionary Time-depth Principle:" Implications for the Reclassification of fear-circuitry-related traits in DSM-V and for studying resilience to warzone-related posttraumatic stress disorder.

    PubMed

    Bracha, H Stefan

    2006-07-01

    The DSM-III, DSM-IV, DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10 have judiciously minimized discussion of etiologies to distance clinical psychiatry from Freudian psychoanalysis. With this goal mostly achieved, discussion of etiological factors should be reintroduced into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V). A research agenda for the DSM-V advocated the "development of a pathophysiologically based classification system". The author critically reviews the neuroevolutionary literature on stress-induced and fear circuitry disorders and related amygdala-driven, species-atypical fear behaviors of clinical severity in adult humans. Over 30 empirically testable/falsifiable predictions are presented. It is noted that in DSM-IV-TR and ICD-10, the classification of stress and fear circuitry disorders is neither mode-of-acquisition-based nor brain-evolution-based. For example, snake phobia (innate) and dog phobia (overconsolidational) are clustered together. Similarly, research on blood-injection-injury-type-specific phobia clusters two fears different in their innateness: 1) an arguably ontogenetic memory-trace-overconsolidation-based fear (hospital phobia) and 2) a hardwired (innate) fear of the sight of one's blood or a sharp object penetrating one's skin. Genetic architecture-charting of fear-circuitry-related traits has been challenging. Various, non-phenotype-based architectures can serve as targets for research. In this article, the author will propose one such alternative genetic architecture. This article was inspired by the following: A) Nesse's "Smoke-Detector Principle", B) the increasing suspicion that the "smooth" rather than "lumpy" distribution of complex psychiatric phenotypes (including fear-circuitry disorders) may in some cases be accounted for by oligogenic (and not necessarily polygenic) transmission, and C) insights from the initial sequence of the chimpanzee genome and comparison with the human genome by the Chimpanzee Sequencing

  18. Quantitative genetic analysis of brain size variation in sticklebacks: support for the mosaic model of brain evolution

    PubMed Central

    Noreikiene, Kristina; Herczeg, Gábor; Gonda, Abigél; Balázs, Gergely; Husby, Arild; Merilä, Juha

    2015-01-01

    The mosaic model of brain evolution postulates that different brain regions are relatively free to evolve independently from each other. Such independent evolution is possible only if genetic correlations among the different brain regions are less than unity. We estimated heritabilities, evolvabilities and genetic correlations of relative size of the brain, and its different regions in the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). We found that heritabilities were low (average h2 = 0.24), suggesting a large plastic component to brain architecture. However, evolvabilities of different brain parts were moderate, suggesting the presence of additive genetic variance to sustain a response to selection in the long term. Genetic correlations among different brain regions were low (average rG = 0.40) and significantly less than unity. These results, along with those from analyses of phenotypic and genetic integration, indicate a high degree of independence between different brain regions, suggesting that responses to selection are unlikely to be severely constrained by genetic and phenotypic correlations. Hence, the results give strong support for the mosaic model of brain evolution. However, the genetic correlation between brain and body size was high (rG = 0.89), suggesting a constraint for independent evolution of brain and body size in sticklebacks. PMID:26108633

  19. Tree climbing and human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Venkataraman, Vivek V.; Kraft, Thomas S.; Dominy, Nathaniel J.

    2013-01-01

    Paleoanthropologists have long argued—often contentiously—about the climbing abilities of early hominins and whether a foot adapted to terrestrial bipedalism constrained regular access to trees. However, some modern humans climb tall trees routinely in pursuit of honey, fruit, and game, often without the aid of tools or support systems. Mortality and morbidity associated with facultative arboreality is expected to favor behaviors and anatomies that facilitate safe and efficient climbing. Here we show that Twa hunter–gatherers use extraordinary ankle dorsiflexion (>45°) during climbing, similar to the degree observed in wild chimpanzees. Although we did not detect a skeletal signature of dorsiflexion in museum specimens of climbing hunter–gatherers from the Ituri forest, we did find that climbing by the Twa is associated with longer fibers in the gastrocnemius muscle relative to those of neighboring, nonclimbing agriculturalists. This result suggests that a more excursive calf muscle facilitates climbing with a bipedally adapted ankle and foot by positioning the climber closer to the tree, and it might be among the mechanisms that allow hunter–gatherers to access the canopy safely. Given that we did not find a skeletal correlate for this observed behavior, our results imply that derived aspects of the hominin ankle associated with bipedalism remain compatible with vertical climbing and arboreal resource acquisition. Our findings challenge the persistent arboreal–terrestrial dichotomy that has informed behavioral reconstructions of fossil hominins and highlight the value of using modern humans as models for inferring the limits of hominin arboreality. PMID:23277565

  20. MRI and MRS of human brain tumors.

    PubMed

    Hou, Bob L; Hu, Jiani

    2009-01-01

    The purpose of this chapter is to provide an introduction to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) of human brain tumors, including the primary applications and basic terminology involved. Readers who wish to know more about this broad subject should seek out the referenced books (1. Tofts (2003) Quantitative MRI of the brain. Measuring changes caused by disease. Wiley; Bradley and Stark (1999) 2. Magnetic resonance imaging, 3rd Edition. Mosby Inc; Brown and Semelka (2003) 3. MRI basic principles and applications, 3rd Edition. Wiley-Liss) or reviews (4. Top Magn Reson Imaging 17:127-36, 2006; 5. JMRI 24:709-724, 2006; 6. Am J Neuroradiol 27:1404-1411, 2006).MRI is the most popular means of diagnosing human brain tumors. The inherent difference in the magnetic resonance (MR) properties of water between normal tissues and tumors results in contrast differences on the image that provide the basis for distinguishing tumors from normal tissues. In contrast to MRI, which provides spatial maps or images using water signals of the tissues, proton MRS detects signals of tissue metabolites. MRS can complement MRI because the observed MRS peaks can be linked to inherent differences in biochemical profiles between normal tissues and tumors.The goal of MRI and MRS is to characterize brain tumors, including tumor core, edge, edema, volume, types, and grade. The commonly used brain tumor MRI protocol includes T2-weighted images and T1-weighted images taken both before and after the injection of a contrast agent (typically gadolinium: Gd). The commonly used MRS technique is either point-resolved spectroscopy (PRESS) or stimulated echo acquisition mode (STEAM).

  1. Using Human Evolution to Teach Evolutionary Theory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Besterman, Hugo; La Velle, Linda Baggott

    2007-01-01

    This paper discusses some traditional approaches to the teaching of evolutionary theory at pre-university level, criticising in particular some of the more commonly used models and exemplars. Curricular demands are described and an alternative approach is suggested, using the emerging story of human evolution. Recent discoveries help to illustrate…

  2. Frequent recent origination of brain genes shaped the evolution of foraging behavior in Drosophila.

    PubMed

    Chen, Sidi; Spletter, Maria; Ni, Xiaochun; White, Kevin P; Luo, Liqun; Long, Manyuan

    2012-02-23

    The evolution of the brain and behavior are coupled puzzles. The genetic bases for brain evolution are widely debated, yet whether newly evolved genes impact the evolution of the brain and behavior is vaguely understood. Here, we show that during recent evolution in Drosophila, new genes have frequently acquired neuronal expression, particularly in the mushroom bodies. Evolutionary signatures combined with expression profiling showed that natural selection influenced the evolution of young genes expressed in the brain, notably in mushroom bodies. Case analyses showed that two young retrogenes are expressed in the olfactory circuit and facilitate foraging behavior. Comparative behavioral analysis revealed divergence in foraging behavior between species. Our data suggest that during adaptive evolution, new genes gain expression in specific brain structures and evolve new functions in neural circuits, which might contribute to the phenotypic evolution of animal behavior.

  3. Frequent Recent Origination of Brain Genes Shaped the Evolution of Foraging Behavior in Drosophila

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Sidi; Spletter, Maria; Ni, Xiaochun; White, Kevin; Luo, Liqun; Long, Manyuan

    2015-01-01

    The evolution of the brain and behavior are coupled puzzles. The genetic bases for brain evolution are widely debated, yet whether new genes impact the evolution of the brain and behavior is vaguely understood. Here we show that during recent evolution in Drosophila, new genes have frequently acquired neuronal expression, particularly in the mushroom bodies. Evolutionary signatures combined with expression profiling showed that natural selection influenced the evolution of young genes expressed in the brain, notably in mushroom bodies. Case analyses showed that two young retrogenes are expressed in the olfactory circuit and facilitate foraging behavior. Comparative behavioral analysis revealed divergence in foraging behavior between species. Our data suggest that during adaptive evolution new genes gain expression in specific brain structures and evolve new functions in neural circuits, which might contribute to the phenotypic evolution of animal behavior. PMID:22832161

  4. Relaxed genetic control of cortical organization in human brains compared with chimpanzees

    PubMed Central

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Hopkins, William D.; Schapiro, Steven J.; Sherwood, Chet C.

    2015-01-01

    The study of hominin brain evolution has focused largely on the neocortical expansion and reorganization undergone by humans as inferred from the endocranial fossil record. Comparisons of modern human brains with those of chimpanzees provide an additional line of evidence to define key neural traits that have emerged in human evolution and that underlie our unique behavioral specializations. In an attempt to identify fundamental developmental differences, we have estimated the genetic bases of brain size and cortical organization in chimpanzees and humans by studying phenotypic similarities between individuals with known kinship relationships. We show that, although heritability for brain size and cortical organization is high in chimpanzees, cerebral cortical anatomy is substantially less genetically heritable than brain size in humans, indicating greater plasticity and increased environmental influence on neurodevelopment in our species. This relaxed genetic control on cortical organization is especially marked in association areas and likely is related to underlying microstructural changes in neural circuitry. A major result of increased plasticity is that the development of neural circuits that underlie behavior is shaped by the environmental, social, and cultural context more intensively in humans than in other primate species, thus providing an anatomical basis for behavioral and cognitive evolution. PMID:26627234

  5. Relaxed genetic control of cortical organization in human brains compared with chimpanzees.

    PubMed

    Gómez-Robles, Aida; Hopkins, William D; Schapiro, Steven J; Sherwood, Chet C

    2015-12-01

    The study of hominin brain evolution has focused largely on the neocortical expansion and reorganization undergone by humans as inferred from the endocranial fossil record. Comparisons of modern human brains with those of chimpanzees provide an additional line of evidence to define key neural traits that have emerged in human evolution and that underlie our unique behavioral specializations. In an attempt to identify fundamental developmental differences, we have estimated the genetic bases of brain size and cortical organization in chimpanzees and humans by studying phenotypic similarities between individuals with known kinship relationships. We show that, although heritability for brain size and cortical organization is high in chimpanzees, cerebral cortical anatomy is substantially less genetically heritable than brain size in humans, indicating greater plasticity and increased environmental influence on neurodevelopment in our species. This relaxed genetic control on cortical organization is especially marked in association areas and likely is related to underlying microstructural changes in neural circuitry. A major result of increased plasticity is that the development of neural circuits that underlie behavior is shaped by the environmental, social, and cultural context more intensively in humans than in other primate species, thus providing an anatomical basis for behavioral and cognitive evolution. PMID:26627234

  6. The Antisense Transcriptome and the Human Brain.

    PubMed

    Mills, James D; Chen, Bei Jun; Ueberham, Uwe; Arendt, Thomas; Janitz, Michael

    2016-01-01

    The transcriptome of a cell is made up of a varied array of RNA species, including protein-coding RNAs, long non-coding RNAs, short non-coding RNAs, and circular RNAs. The cellular transcriptome is dynamic and can change depending on environmental factors, disease state and cellular context. The human brain has perhaps the most diverse transcriptome profile that is enriched for many species of RNA, including antisense transcripts. Antisense transcripts are produced when both the plus and minus strand of the DNA helix are transcribed at a particular locus. This results in an RNA transcript that has a partial or complete overlap with an intronic or exonic region of the sense transcript. While antisense transcription is known to occur at some level in most organisms, this review focuses specifically on antisense transcription in the brain and how regulation of genes by antisense transcripts can contribute to functional aspects of the healthy and diseased brain. First, we discuss different techniques that can be used in the identification and quantification of antisense transcripts. This is followed by examples of antisense transcription and modes of regulatory function that have been identified in the brain.

  7. A Bird’s Eye View of Human Language Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Berwick, Robert C.; Beckers, Gabriël J. L.; Okanoya, Kazuo; Bolhuis, Johan J.

    2012-01-01

    Comparative studies of linguistic faculties in animals pose an evolutionary paradox: language involves certain perceptual and motor abilities, but it is not clear that this serves as more than an input–output channel for the externalization of language proper. Strikingly, the capability for auditory–vocal learning is not shared with our closest relatives, the apes, but is present in such remotely related groups as songbirds and marine mammals. There is increasing evidence for behavioral, neural, and genetic similarities between speech acquisition and birdsong learning. At the same time, researchers have applied formal linguistic analysis to the vocalizations of both primates and songbirds. What have all these studies taught us about the evolution of language? Is the comparative study of an apparently species-specific trait like language feasible? We argue that comparative analysis remains an important method for the evolutionary reconstruction and causal analysis of the mechanisms underlying language. On the one hand, common descent has been important in the evolution of the brain, such that avian and mammalian brains may be largely homologous, particularly in the case of brain regions involved in auditory perception, vocalization, and auditory memory. On the other hand, there has been convergent evolution of the capacity for auditory–vocal learning, and possibly for structuring of external vocalizations, such that apes lack the abilities that are shared between songbirds and humans. However, significant limitations to this comparative analysis remain. While all birdsong may be classified in terms of a particularly simple kind of concatenation system, the regular languages, there is no compelling evidence to date that birdsong matches the characteristic syntactic complexity of human language, arising from the composition of smaller forms like words and phrases into larger ones. PMID:22518103

  8. Developmental Modes and Developmental Mechanisms can Channel Brain Evolution.

    PubMed

    Charvet, Christine J; Striedter, Georg F

    2011-01-01

    Anseriform birds (ducks and geese) as well as parrots and songbirds have evolved a disproportionately enlarged telencephalon compared with many other birds. However, parrots and songbirds differ from anseriform birds in their mode of development. Whereas ducks and geese are precocial (e.g., hatchlings feed on their own), parrots and songbirds are altricial (e.g., hatchlings are fed by their parents). We here consider how developmental modes may limit and facilitate specific changes in the mechanisms of brain development. We suggest that altriciality facilitates the evolution of telencephalic expansion by delaying telencephalic neurogenesis. We further hypothesize that delays in telencephalic neurogenesis generate delays in telencephalic maturation, which in turn foster neural adaptations that facilitate learning. Specifically, we propose that delaying telencephalic neurogenesis was a prerequisite for the evolution of neural circuits that allow parrots and songbirds to produce learned vocalizations. Overall, we argue that developmental modes have influenced how some lineages of birds increased the size of their telencephalon and that this, in turn, has influenced subsequent changes in brain circuits and behavior.

  9. Developmental Modes and Developmental Mechanisms can Channel Brain Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Charvet, Christine J.; Striedter, Georg F.

    2010-01-01

    Anseriform birds (ducks and geese) as well as parrots and songbirds have evolved a disproportionately enlarged telencephalon compared with many other birds. However, parrots and songbirds differ from anseriform birds in their mode of development. Whereas ducks and geese are precocial (e.g., hatchlings feed on their own), parrots and songbirds are altricial (e.g., hatchlings are fed by their parents). We here consider how developmental modes may limit and facilitate specific changes in the mechanisms of brain development. We suggest that altriciality facilitates the evolution of telencephalic expansion by delaying telencephalic neurogenesis. We further hypothesize that delays in telencephalic neurogenesis generate delays in telencephalic maturation, which in turn foster neural adaptations that facilitate learning. Specifically, we propose that delaying telencephalic neurogenesis was a prerequisite for the evolution of neural circuits that allow parrots and songbirds to produce learned vocalizations. Overall, we argue that developmental modes have influenced how some lineages of birds increased the size of their telencephalon and that this, in turn, has influenced subsequent changes in brain circuits and behavior. PMID:21369349

  10. Perfusion harmonic imaging of the human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Metzler, Volker H.; Seidel, Guenter; Wiesmann, Martin; Meyer, Karsten; Aach, Til

    2003-05-01

    The fast visualisation of cerebral microcirculation supports diagnosis of acute cerebrovascular diseases. However, the commonly used CT/MRI-based methods are time consuming and, moreover, costly. Therefore we propose an alternative approach to brain perfusion imaging by means of ultrasonography. In spite of the low signal/noise-ratio of transcranial ultrasound and the high impedance of the skull, flow images of cerebral blood flow can be derived by capturing the kinetics of appropriate contrast agents by harmonic ultrasound image sequences. In this paper we propose three different methods for human brain perfusion imaging, each of which yielding flow images indicating the status of the patient's cerebral microcirculation by visualising local flow parameters. Bolus harmonic imaging (BHI) displays the flow kinetics of bolus injections, while replenishment (RHI) and diminution harmonic imaging (DHI) compute flow characteristics from contrast agent continuous infusions. RHI measures the contrast agents kinetics in the influx phase and DHI displays the diminution kinetics of the contrast agent acquired from the decay phase. In clinical studies, BHI- and RHI-parameter images were found to represent comprehensive and reproducible distributions of physiological cerebral blood flow. For DHI it is shown, that bubble destruction and hence perfusion phenomena principally can be displayed. Generally, perfusion harmonic imaging enables reliable and fast bedside imaging of human brain perfusion. Due to its cost efficiency it complements cerebrovascular diagnostics by established CT/MRI-based methods.

  11. A Hedonism Hub in the Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Zacharopoulos, G.; Lancaster, T. M.; Bracht, T.; Ihssen, N.; Maio, G. R.; Linden, D. E. J.

    2016-01-01

    Human values are abstract ideals that motivate behavior. The motivational nature of human values raises the possibility that they might be underpinned by brain structures that are particularly involved in motivated behavior and reward processing. We hypothesized that variation in subcortical hubs of the reward system and their main connecting pathway, the superolateral medial forebrain bundle (slMFB) is associated with individual value orientation. We conducted Pearson's correlation between the scores of 10 human values and the volumes of 14 subcortical structures and microstructural properties of the medial forebrain bundle in a sample of 87 participants, correcting for multiple comparisons (i.e.,190). We found a positive association between the value that people attach to hedonism and the volume of the left globus pallidus (GP).We then tested whether microstructural parameters (i.e., fractional anisotropy and myelin volume fraction) of the slMFB, which connects with the GP, are also associated to hedonism and found a significant, albeit in an uncorrected level, positive association between the myelin volume fraction within the left slMFB and hedonism scores. This is the first study to elucidate the relationship between the importance people attach to the human value of hedonism and structural variation in reward-related subcortical brain regions. PMID:27473322

  12. Accelerated Recruitment of New Brain Development Genes into the Human Genome

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yong E.; Landback, Patrick; Vibranovski, Maria D.; Long, Manyuan

    2011-01-01

    How the human brain evolved has attracted tremendous interests for decades. Motivated by case studies of primate-specific genes implicated in brain function, we examined whether or not the young genes, those emerging genome-wide in the lineages specific to the primates or rodents, showed distinct spatial and temporal patterns of transcription compared to old genes, which had existed before primate and rodent split. We found consistent patterns across different sources of expression data: there is a significantly larger proportion of young genes expressed in the fetal or infant brain of humans than in mouse, and more young genes in humans have expression biased toward early developing brains than old genes. Most of these young genes are expressed in the evolutionarily newest part of human brain, the neocortex. Remarkably, we also identified a number of human-specific genes which are expressed in the prefrontal cortex, which is implicated in complex cognitive behaviors. The young genes upregulated in the early developing human brain play diverse functional roles, with a significant enrichment of transcription factors. Genes originating from different mechanisms show a similar expression bias in the developing brain. Moreover, we found that the young genes upregulated in early brain development showed rapid protein evolution compared to old genes also expressed in the fetal brain. Strikingly, genes expressed in the neocortex arose soon after its morphological origin. These four lines of evidence suggest that positive selection for brain function may have contributed to the origination of young genes expressed in the developing brain. These data demonstrate a striking recruitment of new genes into the early development of the human brain. PMID:22028629

  13. Brain-size evolution and sociality in Carnivora

    PubMed Central

    Finarelli, John A.; Flynn, John J.

    2009-01-01

    Increased encephalization, or larger brain volume relative to body mass, is a repeated theme in vertebrate evolution. Here we present an extensive sampling of relative brain sizes in fossil and extant taxa in the mammalian order Carnivora (cats, dogs, bears, weasels, and their relatives). By using Akaike Information Criterion model selection and endocranial volume and body mass data for 289 species (including 125 fossil taxa), we document clade-specific evolutionary transformations in encephalization allometries. These evolutionary transformations include multiple independent encephalization increases and decreases in addition to a remarkably static basal Carnivora allometry that characterizes much of the suborder Feliformia and some taxa in the suborder Caniformia across much of their evolutionary history, emphasizing that complex processes shaped the modern distribution of encephalization across Carnivora. This analysis also permits critical evaluation of the social brain hypothesis (SBH), which predicts a close association between sociality and increased encephalization. Previous analyses based on living species alone appeared to support the SBH with respect to Carnivora, but those results are entirely dependent on data from modern Canidae (dogs). Incorporation of fossil data further reveals that no association exists between sociality and encephalization across Carnivora and that support for sociality as a causal agent of encephalization increase disappears for this clade. PMID:19474299

  14. Cooperation came first: evolution and human cognition.

    PubMed

    Hayes, Steven C; Sanford, Brandon T

    2014-01-01

    Contextual behavioral perspectives on learning and behavior reside under the umbrella of evolution science. In this paper we briefly review current developments in evolution science that bear on learning and behavior, concluding that behavior is now moving to the center of evolution studies. Learning is one of the main ladders of evolution by establishing functional benchmarks within which genetic adaptations can be advantaged. We apply that approach to the beginning feature of human cognition according to Relational Frame Theory: derived symmetry in coordination framing. When combined with the idea that cooperation came before major advances in human cognition or culture, existing abilities in social referencing, joint attention, perspective-taking skills, and relational learning ensure that the behavioral subcomponents of symmetrical equivalence relations would be reinforced. When coordination framing emerged and came under arbitrary contextual control as an operant class, a template was established for the development of multiple relational frames and the emergence and evolutionary impact of human cognition as we know it. Implications of these ideas for translational research are briefly discussed. PMID:24318964

  15. Evolution of the Aging Brain Transcriptome and Synaptic Regulation

    PubMed Central

    Dakin, Kelly A.; Vann, James M.; Isaacs, Adrian; Geula, Chengiz; Wang, Jianbin; Pan, Ying; Gabuzda, Dana H.; Li, Cheng; Prolla, Tomas A.; Yankner, Bruce A.

    2008-01-01

    Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders of aging are characterized by clinical and pathological features that are relatively specific to humans. To obtain greater insight into how brain aging has evolved, we compared age-related gene expression changes in the cortex of humans, rhesus macaques, and mice on a genome-wide scale. A small subset of gene expression changes are conserved in all three species, including robust age-dependent upregulation of the neuroprotective gene apolipoprotein D (APOD) and downregulation of the synaptic cAMP signaling gene calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IV (CAMK4). However, analysis of gene ontology and cell type localization shows that humans and rhesus macaques have diverged from mice due to a dramatic increase in age-dependent repression of neuronal genes. Many of these age-regulated neuronal genes are associated with synaptic function. Notably, genes associated with GABA-ergic inhibitory function are robustly age-downregulated in humans but not in mice at the level of both mRNA and protein. Gene downregulation was not associated with overall neuronal or synaptic loss. Thus, repression of neuronal gene expression is a prominent and recently evolved feature of brain aging in humans and rhesus macaques that may alter neural networks and contribute to age-related cognitive changes. PMID:18830410

  16. Genome-Wide Identification of Regulatory Sequences Undergoing Accelerated Evolution in the Human Genome

    PubMed Central

    Dong, Xinran; Wang, Xiao; Zhang, Feng; Tian, Weidong

    2016-01-01

    Accelerated evolution of regulatory sequence can alter the expression pattern of target genes, and cause phenotypic changes. In this study, we used DNase I hypersensitive sites (DHSs) to annotate putative regulatory sequences in the human genome, and conducted a genome-wide analysis of the effects of accelerated evolution on regulatory sequences. Working under the assumption that local ancient repeat elements of DHSs are under neutral evolution, we discovered that ∼0.44% of DHSs are under accelerated evolution (ace-DHSs). We found that ace-DHSs tend to be more active than background DHSs, and are strongly associated with epigenetic marks of active transcription. The target genes of ace-DHSs are significantly enriched in neuron-related functions, and their expression levels are positively selected in the human brain. Thus, these lines of evidences strongly suggest that accelerated evolution on regulatory sequences plays important role in the evolution of human-specific phenotypes. PMID:27401230

  17. Genome-Wide Identification of Regulatory Sequences Undergoing Accelerated Evolution in the Human Genome.

    PubMed

    Dong, Xinran; Wang, Xiao; Zhang, Feng; Tian, Weidong

    2016-10-01

    Accelerated evolution of regulatory sequence can alter the expression pattern of target genes, and cause phenotypic changes. In this study, we used DNase I hypersensitive sites (DHSs) to annotate putative regulatory sequences in the human genome, and conducted a genome-wide analysis of the effects of accelerated evolution on regulatory sequences. Working under the assumption that local ancient repeat elements of DHSs are under neutral evolution, we discovered that ∼0.44% of DHSs are under accelerated evolution (ace-DHSs). We found that ace-DHSs tend to be more active than background DHSs, and are strongly associated with epigenetic marks of active transcription. The target genes of ace-DHSs are significantly enriched in neuron-related functions, and their expression levels are positively selected in the human brain. Thus, these lines of evidences strongly suggest that accelerated evolution on regulatory sequences plays important role in the evolution of human-specific phenotypes.

  18. Visualization of monoamine oxidase in human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Fowler, J.S.; Volkow, N.D.; Wang, G.J.; Pappas, N.; Shea, C.; MacGregor, R.R.; Logan, J.

    1996-12-31

    Monoamine oxidase is a flavin enzyme which exists in two subtypes, MAO A and MAO B. In human brain MAO B predominates and is largely compartmentalized in cell bodies of serotonergic neurons and glia. Regional distribution of MAO B was determined by positron computed tomography with volunteers after the administration of deuterium substituted [11C]L-deprenyl. The basal ganglia and thalamus exhibited the greatest concentrations of MAO B with intermediate levels in the frontal cortex and cingulate gyrus while lowest levels were observed in the parietal and temporal cortices and cerebellum. We observed that brain MAO B increases with are in health normal subjects, however the increases were generally smaller than those revealed with post-mortem studies.

  19. Dynamic landscapes in human evolution and dispersal

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Devès, Maud; King, Geoffrey; Bailey, Geoffrey; Inglis, Robyn; Williams, Matthew; Winder, Isabelle

    2013-04-01

    Archaeological studies of human settlement in its wider landscape setting usually focus on climate change as the principal environmental driver of change in the physical features of the landscape, even on the long time scales of early human evolution. We emphasize that landscapes evolve dynamically due to an interplay of processes occurring over different timescales. Tectonic deformation, volcanism, sea level changes, by acting on the topography, the lithology and on the patterns of erosion-deposition in a given area, can moderate or amplify the influence of climate at the regional and local scale. These processes impose or alleviate physical barriers to movement, and modify the distribution and accessibility of plant and animal resources in ways critical to human ecological and evolutionary success (King and Bailey, JHE 2006; Bailey and King, Antiquity 2011, Winder et al. Antiquity in press). The DISPERSE project, an ERC-funded collaboration between the University of York and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, aims to develop systematic methods for reconstructing landscapes associated with active tectonics, volcanism and sea level change at a variety of scales in order to study their potential impact on patterns of human evolution and dispersal. Examples are shown to illustrate the ways in which changes of significance to human settlement can occur at a range of geographical scales and on time scales that range from lifetimes to tens of millennia, creating and sustaining attractive conditions for human settlement and exercising powerful selective pressures on human development.

  20. Unraveling the evolution of uniquely human cognition

    PubMed Central

    MacLean, Evan L.

    2016-01-01

    A satisfactory account of human cognitive evolution will explain not only the psychological mechanisms that make our species unique, but also how, when, and why these traits evolved. To date, researchers have made substantial progress toward defining uniquely human aspects of cognition, but considerably less effort has been devoted to questions about the evolutionary processes through which these traits have arisen. In this article, I aim to link these complementary aims by synthesizing recent advances in our understanding of what makes human cognition unique, with theory and data regarding the processes of cognitive evolution. I review evidence that uniquely human cognition depends on synergism between both representational and motivational factors and is unlikely to be accounted for by changes to any singular cognitive system. I argue that, whereas no nonhuman animal possesses the full constellation of traits that define the human mind, homologies and analogies of critical aspects of human psychology can be found in diverse nonhuman taxa. I suggest that phylogenetic approaches to the study of animal cognition—which can address questions about the selective pressures and proximate mechanisms driving cognitive change—have the potential to yield important insights regarding the processes through which the human cognitive phenotype evolved. PMID:27274041

  1. The proteome of human brain microdialysate

    PubMed Central

    Maurer, Martin H; Berger, Christian; Wolf, Margit; Fütterer, Carsten D; Feldmann, Robert E; Schwab, Stefan; Kuschinsky, Wolfgang

    2003-01-01

    Background Cerebral microdialysis has been established as a monitoring tool in neurocritically ill patients suffering from severe stroke. The technique allows to sample small molecules in the brain tissue for subsequent biochemical analysis. In this study, we investigated the proteomic profile of human cerebral microdialysate and if the identified proteins might be useful predictors for disease characteristics in stroke for tissue at risk in the contralateral hemisphere. We analysed cerebral protein expression in microdialysate from three stroke patients sampled from the hemisphere contralateral to the lesion. Using a proteomic approach based on two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and subsequent mass spectrometry, we created a protein map for the global protein expression pattern of human microdialyste. Results We found an average of 158 ± 24 (N = 18) protein spots in the human cerebral microdialysate and could identify 95 spots, representing 27 individual proteins. Most of these have been detected in human cerebrospinal fluid before, but 10 additional proteins mainly of cerebral intracellular origin were identified exclusively in the microdialysate. Conclusions The 10 proteins found exclusively in human cerebral microdialysate, but not in cerebrospinal fluid, indicate the possibility to monitor the progression of the disease towards deterioration. The correlation of protein composition in the human cerebral microdialysate with the patients' clinical condition and results of cerebral imaging may be a useful approach to future applications for neurological stroke diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. PMID:14675487

  2. Molecular biology of the human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Jones, E.G.

    1988-01-01

    This book examines new methods of molecular biology that are providing valuable insights into the human brain, the genes that govern its assembly and function, and the many genetic defects that cause neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, Cri du Chat syndrome, Huntington's disease, and bipolar depression disorder. In addition, the book reviews techniques in molecular neurobiological research, including the use of affinity reagents, chimeric receptors, and site-directed mutagenesis in localizing the ion channel and cholinergic binding site, and the application of somatic cell genetics in isolating specific chromosomes or chromosomal segments.

  3. Evolution of brain-computer interfaces: going beyond classic motor physiology

    PubMed Central

    Leuthardt, Eric C.; Schalk, Gerwin; Roland, Jarod; Rouse, Adam; Moran, Daniel W.

    2010-01-01

    The notion that a computer can decode brain signals to infer the intentions of a human and then enact those intentions directly through a machine is becoming a realistic technical possibility. These types of devices are known as brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). The evolution of these neuroprosthetic technologies could have significant implications for patients with motor disabilities by enhancing their ability to interact and communicate with their environment. The cortical physiology most investigated and used for device control has been brain signals from the primary motor cortex. To date, this classic motor physiology has been an effective substrate for demonstrating the potential efficacy of BCI-based control. However, emerging research now stands to further enhance our understanding of the cortical physiology underpinning human intent and provide further signals for more complex brain-derived control. In this review, the authors report the current status of BCIs and detail the emerging research trends that stand to augment clinical applications in the future. PMID:19569892

  4. Mouse Genetic Models of Human Brain Disorders.

    PubMed

    Leung, Celeste; Jia, Zhengping

    2016-01-01

    Over the past three decades, genetic manipulations in mice have been used in neuroscience as a major approach to investigate the in vivo function of genes and their alterations. In particular, gene targeting techniques using embryonic stem cells have revolutionized the field of mammalian genetics and have been at the forefront in the generation of numerous mouse models of human brain disorders. In this review, we will first examine childhood developmental disorders such as autism, intellectual disability, Fragile X syndrome, and Williams-Beuren syndrome. We will then explore psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and lastly, neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. We will outline the creation of these mouse models that range from single gene deletions, subtle point mutations to multi-gene manipulations, and discuss the key behavioral phenotypes of these mice. Ultimately, the analysis of the models outlined in this review will enhance our understanding of the in vivo role and underlying mechanisms of disease-related genes in both normal brain function and brain disorders, and provide potential therapeutic targets and strategies to prevent and treat these diseases. PMID:27047540

  5. Mouse Genetic Models of Human Brain Disorders

    PubMed Central

    Leung, Celeste; Jia, Zhengping

    2016-01-01

    Over the past three decades, genetic manipulations in mice have been used in neuroscience as a major approach to investigate the in vivo function of genes and their alterations. In particular, gene targeting techniques using embryonic stem cells have revolutionized the field of mammalian genetics and have been at the forefront in the generation of numerous mouse models of human brain disorders. In this review, we will first examine childhood developmental disorders such as autism, intellectual disability, Fragile X syndrome, and Williams-Beuren syndrome. We will then explore psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and lastly, neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. We will outline the creation of these mouse models that range from single gene deletions, subtle point mutations to multi-gene manipulations, and discuss the key behavioral phenotypes of these mice. Ultimately, the analysis of the models outlined in this review will enhance our understanding of the in vivo role and underlying mechanisms of disease-related genes in both normal brain function and brain disorders, and provide potential therapeutic targets and strategies to prevent and treat these diseases. PMID:27047540

  6. DNA Methylation: Insights into Human Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Sharp, Andrew J.; Marques-Bonet, Tomas

    2015-01-01

    A fundamental initiative for evolutionary biologists is to understand the molecular basis underlying phenotypic diversity. A long-standing hypothesis states that species-specific traits may be explained by differences in gene regulation rather than differences at the protein level. Over the past few years, evolutionary studies have shifted from mere sequence comparisons to integrative analyses in which gene regulation is key to understanding species evolution. DNA methylation is an important epigenetic modification involved in the regulation of numerous biological processes. Nevertheless, the evolution of the human methylome and the processes driving such changes are poorly understood. Here, we review the close interplay between Cytosine-phosphate-Guanine (CpG) methylation and the underlying genome sequence, as well as its evolutionary impact. We also summarize the latest advances in the field, revisiting the main literature on human and nonhuman primates. We hope to encourage the scientific community to address the many challenges posed by the field of comparative epigenomics. PMID:26658498

  7. Human brain lesion-deficit inference remapped

    PubMed Central

    Mah, Yee-Haur; Husain, Masud; Rees, Geraint

    2014-01-01

    Our knowledge of the anatomical organization of the human brain in health and disease draws heavily on the study of patients with focal brain lesions. Historically the first method of mapping brain function, it is still potentially the most powerful, establishing the necessity of any putative neural substrate for a given function or deficit. Great inferential power, however, carries a crucial vulnerability: without stronger alternatives any consistent error cannot be easily detected. A hitherto unexamined source of such error is the structure of the high-dimensional distribution of patterns of focal damage, especially in ischaemic injury—the commonest aetiology in lesion-deficit studies—where the anatomy is naturally shaped by the architecture of the vascular tree. This distribution is so complex that analysis of lesion data sets of conventional size cannot illuminate its structure, leaving us in the dark about the presence or absence of such error. To examine this crucial question we assembled the largest known set of focal brain lesions (n = 581), derived from unselected patients with acute ischaemic injury (mean age = 62.3 years, standard deviation = 17.8, male:female ratio = 0.547), visualized with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, and processed with validated automated lesion segmentation routines. High-dimensional analysis of this data revealed a hidden bias within the multivariate patterns of damage that will consistently distort lesion-deficit maps, displacing inferred critical regions from their true locations, in a manner opaque to replication. Quantifying the size of this mislocalization demonstrates that past lesion-deficit relationships estimated with conventional inferential methodology are likely to be significantly displaced, by a magnitude dependent on the unknown underlying lesion-deficit relationship itself. Past studies therefore cannot be retrospectively corrected, except by new knowledge that would render them redundant

  8. Human brain lesion-deficit inference remapped.

    PubMed

    Mah, Yee-Haur; Husain, Masud; Rees, Geraint; Nachev, Parashkev

    2014-09-01

    Our knowledge of the anatomical organization of the human brain in health and disease draws heavily on the study of patients with focal brain lesions. Historically the first method of mapping brain function, it is still potentially the most powerful, establishing the necessity of any putative neural substrate for a given function or deficit. Great inferential power, however, carries a crucial vulnerability: without stronger alternatives any consistent error cannot be easily detected. A hitherto unexamined source of such error is the structure of the high-dimensional distribution of patterns of focal damage, especially in ischaemic injury-the commonest aetiology in lesion-deficit studies-where the anatomy is naturally shaped by the architecture of the vascular tree. This distribution is so complex that analysis of lesion data sets of conventional size cannot illuminate its structure, leaving us in the dark about the presence or absence of such error. To examine this crucial question we assembled the largest known set of focal brain lesions (n = 581), derived from unselected patients with acute ischaemic injury (mean age = 62.3 years, standard deviation = 17.8, male:female ratio = 0.547), visualized with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, and processed with validated automated lesion segmentation routines. High-dimensional analysis of this data revealed a hidden bias within the multivariate patterns of damage that will consistently distort lesion-deficit maps, displacing inferred critical regions from their true locations, in a manner opaque to replication. Quantifying the size of this mislocalization demonstrates that past lesion-deficit relationships estimated with conventional inferential methodology are likely to be significantly displaced, by a magnitude dependent on the unknown underlying lesion-deficit relationship itself. Past studies therefore cannot be retrospectively corrected, except by new knowledge that would render them redundant

  9. A framework for modeling human evolution.

    PubMed

    Gintis, Herbert

    2016-01-01

    Culture-led gene-culture coevolution is a framework within which substantive explanations of human evolution must be located. It is not itself an explanation. Explanations depend on such concrete historical evolutionary factors such as the control of fire, collective child-rearing, lethal weapon technology, altruistic cooperation and punishment, and the mastery of complex collaboration protocols leading to an effective division of social labor. PMID:27561218

  10. Can a few non-coding mutations make a human brain?

    PubMed

    Franchini, Lucía F; Pollard, Katherine S

    2015-10-01

    The recent finding that the human version of a neurodevelopmental enhancer of the Wnt receptor Frizzled 8 (FZD8) gene alters neural progenitor cell cycle timing and brain size is a step forward to understanding human brain evolution. The human brain is distinctive in terms of its cognitive abilities as well as its susceptibility to neurological disease. Identifying which of the millions of genomic changes that occurred during human evolution led to these and other uniquely human traits is extremely challenging. Recent studies have demonstrated that many of the fastest evolving regions of the human genome function as gene regulatory enhancers during embryonic development and that the human-specific mutations in them might alter expression patterns. However, elucidating molecular and cellular effects of sequence or expression pattern changes is a major obstacle to discovering the genetic bases of the evolution of our species. There is much work to do before human-specific genetic and genomic changes are linked to complex human traits.

  11. Intuition and logic in human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Campbell, Robert

    2012-01-01

    Modern science has come to be regarded as an exclusively objective endeavor employing explicit language that attempts to exclude subjective anthropomorphic biases. In doing so it has run the risk of becoming a purely materialistic bias itself, according no proper place to the human spirit or to intuitive insights that have guided the evolution of human cultures, even though this includes the guiding insights of the most important contributors to the sciences. Although this may have been necessary to exclude rampant superstition in the past, a summary overview of the historical evidence indicates a current pressing need to restore a proper balance. PMID:23181155

  12. The context of human genetic evolution.

    PubMed

    Foley, R

    1998-04-01

    The debate on modern human origins has often focused on the relationship between genes and fossils. Although more and more genetic evidence has been accumulating in favor of a recent African origin for modern humans, it has been assumed by many that the fossil evidence remains ambiguous. On the contrary, it has been clear for some time that the fossil evidence does not support the multiregional model: Fossils and archeology indicate a pattern of multiple dispersals from and beyond Africa, against which the genetic data can be compared. The continuing value of paleobiology is in complementing genetic information by revealing the context of human evolution: locating the dispersals and extinctions of populations in time and space, correlating these events with the environmental forces that shaped them, and providing an increasingly detailed understanding of the morphology and technology of early humans.

  13. Trends in the evolution of life, brains and intelligence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rospars, Jean-Pierre

    2013-07-01

    The f I term of Drake's equation - the fraction of life-bearing planets on which `intelligent' life evolved - has been the subject of much debate in the last few decades. Several leading evolutionary biologists have endorsed the thesis that the probability of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe is vanishingly small. A discussion of this thesis is proposed here that focuses on a key issue in the debate: the existence of evolutionary trends, often presented as trends towards higher complexity, and their possible significance. The present state of knowledge on trends is reviewed. Measurements of quantitative variables that describe important features of the evolution of living organisms - their hierarchical organization, size and biodiversity - and of brains - their overall size, the number and size of their components - in relation to their cognitive abilities, provide reliable evidence of the reality and generality of evolutionary trends. Properties of trends are inferred and frequent misinterpretations (including an excessive stress on mere `complexity') that prevent the objective assessment of trends are considered. Finally, several arguments against the repeatability of evolution to intelligence are discussed. It is concluded that no compelling argument exists for an exceedingly small probability f I. More research is needed before this wide-ranging negative conclusion is accepted.

  14. [Neuroethics: Ethical Endowments of Human Brain].

    PubMed

    López Moratalla, Natalia

    2015-01-01

    The neurobiological processes underlying moral judgement have been the focus of Neuroethics. Neurosciences demonstrate which cerebral areas are active and inactive whilst people decide how to act when facing a moral dilemma; in this way we know the correlation between determined cerebral areas and our human acts. We can explain how the ″ethical endowments″ of each person, common to all human beings, is ″embedded″ in the dynamic of cerebral flows. Of central interest is whether emotions play a causal role in moral judgement, and, in parallel, how emotion related areas of the brain contribute to moral judgement. The outcome of man's natural inclinations is on one hand linked to instinctive systems of animal survival and to basic emotions, and on the other, to the life of each individual human uninhibited by automatism of the biological laws, because he is governed by the laws of freedom. The capacity to formulate an ethical judgement is an innate asset of the human mind. PMID:26546796

  15. The Human Brain in Numbers: A Linearly Scaled-up Primate Brain

    PubMed Central

    Herculano-Houzel, Suzana

    2009-01-01

    The human brain has often been viewed as outstanding among mammalian brains: the most cognitively able, the largest-than-expected from body size, endowed with an overdeveloped cerebral cortex that represents over 80% of brain mass, and purportedly containing 100 billion neurons and 10× more glial cells. Such uniqueness was seemingly necessary to justify the superior cognitive abilities of humans over larger-brained mammals such as elephants and whales. However, our recent studies using a novel method to determine the cellular composition of the brain of humans and other primates as well as of rodents and insectivores show that, since different cellular scaling rules apply to the brains within these orders, brain size can no longer be considered a proxy for the number of neurons in the brain. These studies also showed that the human brain is not exceptional in its cellular composition, as it was found to contain as many neuronal and non-neuronal cells as would be expected of a primate brain of its size. Additionally, the so-called overdeveloped human cerebral cortex holds only 19% of all brain neurons, a fraction that is similar to that found in other mammals. In what regards absolute numbers of neurons, however, the human brain does have two advantages compared to other mammalian brains: compared to rodents, and probably to whales and elephants as well, it is built according to the very economical, space-saving scaling rules that apply to other primates; and, among economically built primate brains, it is the largest, hence containing the most neurons. These findings argue in favor of a view of cognitive abilities that is centered on absolute numbers of neurons, rather than on body size or encephalization, and call for a re-examination of several concepts related to the exceptionality of the human brain. PMID:19915731

  16. Human balance, the evolution of bipedalism and dysequilibrium syndrome.

    PubMed

    Skoyles, John R

    2006-01-01

    A new model of the uniqueness, nature and evolution of human bipedality is presented in the context of the etiology of the balance disorder of dysequilibrium syndrome. Human bipedality is biologically novel in several remarkable respects. Humans are (a) obligate, habitual and diverse in their bipedalism, (b) hold their body carriage spinally erect in a multisegmental "antigravity pole", (c) use their forelimbs exclusively for nonlocomotion, (d) support their body weight exclusively by vertical balance and normally never use prehensile holds. Further, human bipedalism is combined with (e) upper body actions that quickly shift the body's center of mass (e.g. tennis serves, piggy-back carrying of children), (f) use transient unstable erect positions (dance, kicking and fighting), (g) body height that makes falls injurious, (h) stiff gait walking, and (i) endurance running. Underlying these novelties, I conjecture, is a species specific human vertical balance faculty. This faculty synchronizes any action with a skeletomuscular adjustment that corrects its potential destabilizing impact upon the projection of the body's center of mass over its foot support. The balance faculty depends upon internal models of the erect vertical body's geometrical relationship (and its deviations) to its support base. Due to the situation that humans are obligate erect terrestrial animals, two frameworks - the body- and gravity-defined frameworks - are in constant alignment in the vertical z-axis. This alignment allows human balance to adapt egocentric body cognitions to detect body deviations from the gravitational vertical. This link between human balance and the processing of geometrical orientation, I propose, accounts for the close link between balance and spatial cognition found in the cerebral cortex. I argue that cortical areas processing the spatial and other cognitions needed to enable vertical balance was an important reason for brain size expansion of Homo erectus. A novel

  17. Prolonged myelination in human neocortical evolution

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Daniel J.; Duka, Tetyana; Stimpson, Cheryl D.; Schapiro, Steven J.; Baze, Wallace B.; McArthur, Mark J.; Fobbs, Archibald J.; Sousa, André M. M.; Šestan, Nenad; Wildman, Derek E.; Lipovich, Leonard; Kuzawa, Christopher W.; Hof, Patrick R.; Sherwood, Chet C.

    2012-01-01

    Nerve myelination facilitates saltatory action potential conduction and exhibits spatiotemporal variation during development associated with the acquisition of behavioral and cognitive maturity. Although human cognitive development is unique, it is not known whether the ontogenetic progression of myelination in the human neocortex is evolutionarily exceptional. In this study, we quantified myelinated axon fiber length density and the expression of myelin-related proteins throughout postnatal life in the somatosensory (areas 3b/3a/1/2), motor (area 4), frontopolar (prefrontal area 10), and visual (areas 17/18) neocortex of chimpanzees (N = 20) and humans (N = 33). Our examination revealed that neocortical myelination is developmentally protracted in humans compared with chimpanzees. In chimpanzees, the density of myelinated axons increased steadily until adult-like levels were achieved at approximately the time of sexual maturity. In contrast, humans displayed slower myelination during childhood, characterized by a delayed period of maturation that extended beyond late adolescence. This comparative research contributes evidence crucial to understanding the evolution of human cognition and behavior, which arises from the unfolding of nervous system development within the context of an enriched cultural environment. Perturbations of normal developmental processes and the decreased expression of myelin-related molecules have been related to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Thus, these species differences suggest that the human-specific shift in the timing of cortical maturation during adolescence may have implications for vulnerability to certain psychiatric disorders. PMID:23012402

  18. Dynamic reconfiguration of human brain networks during learning

    PubMed Central

    Bassett, Danielle S.; Wymbs, Nicholas F.; Porter, Mason A.; Mucha, Peter J.; Carlson, Jean M.; Grafton, Scott T.

    2011-01-01

    Human learning is a complex phenomenon requiring flexibility to adapt existing brain function and precision in selecting new neurophysiological activities to drive desired behavior. These two attributes—flexibility and selection—must operate over multiple temporal scales as performance of a skill changes from being slow and challenging to being fast and automatic. Such selective adaptability is naturally provided by modular structure, which plays a critical role in evolution, development, and optimal network function. Using functional connectivity measurements of brain activity acquired from initial training through mastery of a simple motor skill, we investigate the role of modularity in human learning by identifying dynamic changes of modular organization spanning multiple temporal scales. Our results indicate that flexibility, which we measure by the allegiance of nodes to modules, in one experimental session predicts the relative amount of learning in a future session. We also develop a general statistical framework for the identification of modular architectures in evolving systems, which is broadly applicable to disciplines where network adaptability is crucial to the understanding of system performance. PMID:21502525

  19. The shape of the human language-ready brain

    PubMed Central

    Boeckx, Cedric; Benítez-Burraco, Antonio

    2014-01-01

    Our core hypothesis is that the emergence of our species-specific language-ready brain ought to be understood in light of the developmental changes expressed at the levels of brain morphology and neural connectivity that occurred in our species after the split from Neanderthals–Denisovans and that gave us a more globular braincase configuration. In addition to changes at the cortical level, we hypothesize that the anatomical shift that led to globularity also entailed significant changes at the subcortical level. We claim that the functional consequences of such changes must also be taken into account to gain a fuller understanding of our linguistic capacity. Here we focus on the thalamus, which we argue is central to language and human cognition, as it modulates fronto-parietal activity. With this new neurobiological perspective in place, we examine its possible molecular basis. We construct a candidate gene set whose members are involved in the development and connectivity of the thalamus, in the evolution of the human head, and are known to give rise to language-associated cognitive disorders. We submit that the new gene candidate set opens up new windows into our understanding of the genetic basis of our linguistic capacity. Thus, our hypothesis aims at generating new testing grounds concerning core aspects of language ontogeny and phylogeny. PMID:24772099

  20. The shape of the human language-ready brain.

    PubMed

    Boeckx, Cedric; Benítez-Burraco, Antonio

    2014-01-01

    Our core hypothesis is that the emergence of our species-specific language-ready brain ought to be understood in light of the developmental changes expressed at the levels of brain morphology and neural connectivity that occurred in our species after the split from Neanderthals-Denisovans and that gave us a more globular braincase configuration. In addition to changes at the cortical level, we hypothesize that the anatomical shift that led to globularity also entailed significant changes at the subcortical level. We claim that the functional consequences of such changes must also be taken into account to gain a fuller understanding of our linguistic capacity. Here we focus on the thalamus, which we argue is central to language and human cognition, as it modulates fronto-parietal activity. With this new neurobiological perspective in place, we examine its possible molecular basis. We construct a candidate gene set whose members are involved in the development and connectivity of the thalamus, in the evolution of the human head, and are known to give rise to language-associated cognitive disorders. We submit that the new gene candidate set opens up new windows into our understanding of the genetic basis of our linguistic capacity. Thus, our hypothesis aims at generating new testing grounds concerning core aspects of language ontogeny and phylogeny.

  1. Left Brain to Right Brain: Notes from the Human Laboratory.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Baumli, Francis

    1982-01-01

    Examines the implications of the left brain-right brain theory on communications styles in male-female relationships. The author contends that women tend to use the vagueness of their emotional responses manipulatively. Men need to apply rational approaches to increase clarity in communication. (AM)

  2. Patterns of differences in brain morphology in humans as compared to extant apes

    PubMed Central

    Aldridge, Kristina

    2010-01-01

    Although human evolution is characterized by a vast increase in brain size, it is not clear whether or not certain regions of the brain are enlarged disproportionately in humans, or how this enlargement relates to differences in overall neural morphology. The aim of this study is to determine whether or not there are specific suites of features that distinguish the morphology of the human brain from that of apes. The study sample consists of whole brain, in vivo magnetic resonance images (MRIs) of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) and five ape species (gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos). Twenty-nine 3D landmarks, including surface and internal features of the brain were located on 3D MRI reconstructions of each individual using MEASURE software. Landmark coordinate data were scaled for differences in size and analyzed using Euclidean Distance Matrix Analysis (EDMA) to statistically compare the brains of each non-human ape species to the human sample. Results of analyses show both a pattern of brain morphology that is consistently different between all apes and humans, as well as patterns that differ among species. Further, both the consistent and species-specific patterns include cortical and subcortical features. The pattern that remains consistent across species indicates a morphological reorganization of 1) relationships between cortical and subcortical frontal structures, 2) expansion of the temporal lobe and location of the amygdala, and 3) expansion of the anterior parietal region. Additionally, results demonstrate that, although there is a pattern of morphology that uniquely defines the human brain, there are also patterns that uniquely differentiate human morphology from the morphology of each non-human ape species, indicating that reorganization of neural morphology occurred at the evolutionary divergence of each of these groups. PMID:21056456

  3. [The evolution of human Y chromosome].

    PubMed

    Yang, Xianrong; Wang, Meiqin; Li, Shaohua

    2014-09-01

    The human Y chromosome is always intriguing for researchers, because of its role in gender determination and its unusual evolutionary history. The Y chromosome evolves from an autosome, and its evolution has been characterized by massive gene decay. The lack of recombination and protein-coding genes and high content of repetitive sequences have hindered the progress in our understanding of the Y chromosome biology. Recently, with the advances in comparative genomics and sequencing technology, the research on Y chromosome has become a hotspot, with an intensified debate about Y-chromosome final destination resulting from degeneration. This review focuses on the structure, inheritance characteristics, gene content, and the origin and evolution of Y chromosome. We also discuss the long-term destiny of Y chromosome.

  4. Genetic Differences Between Humans and Great Apes -- Implications for the Evolution of Humans

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Varki, Ajit

    2004-06-01

    At the level of individual protein sequences, humans are 97-100% identical to the great apes, our closest evolutionary relatives. The evolution of humans (and of human intelligence) from a common ancestor with the chimpanzee and bonobo involved many steps, influenced by interactions amongst factors of genetic, developmental, ecological, microbial, climatic, behavioral, cultural and social origin. The genetic factors can be approached by direct comparisons of human and great ape genomes, genes and gene products, and by elucidating biochemical and biological consequences of any differences found. We have discovered multiple genetic and biochemical differences between humans and great apes, particularly with respect to a family of cell surface molecules called sialic acids, as well as in the metabolism of thyroid hormones. The hormone differences have potential consequences for human brain development. The differences in sialic acid biology have multiple implications for the human condition, ranging from susceptibility or resistance to microbial pathogens, effects on endogenous receptors in the immune system, and potential effects on placental signaling, expression of oncofetal antigens in cancers, consequences of dietary intake of animal foods, and development of the mammalian brain.

  5. Listeriolysin O mediates cytotoxicity against human brain microvascular

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Penetration of the brain microvascular endothelial layer is one of the routes L. monocytogenes use to breach the blood-brain barrier. Because host factors in the blood severely limit direct invasion of human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMECs) by L. monocytogenes, alternative mechanisms m...

  6. Dynamic analysis of the human brain with complex cerebral sulci.

    PubMed

    Tseng, Jung-Ge; Huang, Bo-Wun; Ou, Yi-Wen; Yen, Ke-Tien; Wu, Yi-Te

    2016-07-01

    The brain is one of the most vulnerable organs inside the human body. Head accidents often appear in daily life and are easy to cause different level of brain damage inside the skull. Once the brain suffered intense locomotive impact, external injuries, falls, or other accidents, it will result in different degrees of concussion. This study employs finite element analysis to compare the dynamic characteristics between the geometric models of an assumed simple brain tissue and a brain tissue with complex cerebral sulci. It is aimed to understand the free vibration of the internal brain tissue and then to protect the brain from injury caused by external influences. Reverse engineering method is used for a Classic 5-Part Brain (C18) model produced by 3B Scientific Corporation. 3D optical scanner is employed to scan the human brain structure model with complex cerebral sulci and imported into 3D graphics software to construct a solid brain model to simulate the real complex brain tissue. Obtaining the normal mode analysis by inputting the material properties of the true human brain into finite element analysis software, and then to compare the simplified and the complex of brain models. PMID:27459595

  7. Evolution of anuran brains: disentangling ecological and phylogenetic sources of variation.

    PubMed

    Liao, W B; Lou, S L; Zeng, Y; Merilä, J

    2015-11-01

    Variation in ecological selection pressures has been implicated to explain variation in brain size and architecture in fishes, birds and mammals, but little is known in this respect about amphibians. Likewise, the relative importance of constraint vs. mosaic hypotheses of brain evolution in explaining variation in brain size and architecture remains contentious. Using phylogenetic comparative methods, we studied interspecific variation in brain size and size of different brain parts among 43 Chinese anuran frogs and explored how much of this variation was explainable by variation in ecological factors (viz. habitat type, diet and predation risk). We also evaluated which of the two above-mentioned hypotheses best explains the observed patterns. Although variation in brain size explained on average 80.5% of the variation in size of different brain parts (supporting the constraint hypothesis), none of the three ecological factors were found to explain variation in overall brain size. However, habitat and diet type explained a significant amount of variation in telencephalon size, as well in three composite measures of brain architecture. Likewise, predation risk explained a significant amount of variation in bulbus olfactorius and optic tecta size. Our results show that evolution of anuran brain accommodates features compatible with both constraint (viz. strong allometry among brain parts) and mosaic (viz. independent size changes in response to ecological factors in certain brain parts) models of brain size evolution.

  8. New genes contribute to genetic and phenotypic novelties in human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Yong E.; Long, Manyuan

    2014-01-01

    New genes in human genomes have been found relevant in evolution and biology of humans. It was conservatively estimated that the human genome encodes more than 300 human-specific genes and 1,000 primate-specific genes. These new arrivals appear to be implicated in brain function and male reproduction. Surprisingly, increasing evidence indicates that they may also bring negative pleiotropic effects, while assuming various possible biological functions as sources of phenotypic novelties, suggesting a non-progressive route for functional evolution. Similar to these fixed new genes, polymorphic new genes were found to contribute to functional evolution within species, e.g. with respect to digestion or disease resistance, revealing that new genes can acquire new or diverged functions in its initial stage as prototypic genes. These progresses have provided new opportunity to explore the genetic basis of human biology and human evolutionary history in a new dimension. PMID:25218862

  9. Can a few non‐coding mutations make a human brain?

    PubMed Central

    Franchini, Lucía F.

    2015-01-01

    The recent finding that the human version of a neurodevelopmental enhancer of the Wnt receptor Frizzled 8 (FZD8) gene alters neural progenitor cell cycle timing and brain size is a step forward to understanding human brain evolution. The human brain is distinctive in terms of its cognitive abilities as well as its susceptibility to neurological disease. Identifying which of the millions of genomic changes that occurred during human evolution led to these and other uniquely human traits is extremely challenging. Recent studies have demonstrated that many of the fastest evolving regions of the human genome function as gene regulatory enhancers during embryonic development and that the human‐specific mutations in them might alter expression patterns. However, elucidating molecular and cellular effects of sequence or expression pattern changes is a major obstacle to discovering the genetic bases of the evolution of our species. There is much work to do before human‐specific genetic and genomic changes are linked to complex human traits. Also watch the Video Abstract. PMID:26350501

  10. Distinct genomic signatures of adaptation in pre- and postnatal environments during human evolution.

    PubMed

    Uddin, Monica; Goodman, Morris; Erez, Offer; Romero, Roberto; Liu, Guozhen; Islam, Munirul; Opazo, Juan C; Sherwood, Chet C; Grossman, Lawrence I; Wildman, Derek E

    2008-03-01

    The human genome evolution project seeks to reveal the genetic underpinnings of key phenotypic features that are distinctive of humans, such as a greatly enlarged cerebral cortex, slow development, and long life spans. This project has focused predominantly on genotypic changes during the 6-million-year descent from the last common ancestor (LCA) of humans and chimpanzees. Here, we argue that adaptive genotypic changes during earlier periods of evolutionary history also helped shape the distinctive human phenotype. Using comparative genome sequence data from 10 vertebrate species, we find a signature of human ancestry-specific adaptive evolution in 1,240 genes during their descent from the LCA with rodents. We also find that the signature of adaptive evolution is significantly different for highly expressed genes in human fetal and adult-stage tissues. Functional annotation clustering shows that on the ape stem lineage, an especially evident adaptively evolved biological pathway contains genes that function in mitochondria, are crucially involved in aerobic energy production, and are highly expressed in two energy-demanding tissues, heart and brain. Also, on this ape stem lineage, there was adaptive evolution among genes associated with human autoimmune and aging-related diseases. During more recent human descent, the adaptively evolving, highly expressed genes in fetal brain are involved in mediating neuronal connectivity. Comparing adaptively evolving genes from pre- and postnatal-stage tissues suggests that different selective pressures act on the development vs. the maintenance of the human phenotype.

  11. Rapid evolution of the human gut virome

    PubMed Central

    Minot, Samuel; Bryson, Alexandra; Chehoud, Christel; Wu, Gary D.; Lewis, James D.; Bushman, Frederic D.

    2013-01-01

    Humans are colonized by immense populations of viruses, which metagenomic analysis shows are mostly unique to each individual. To investigate the origin and evolution of the human gut virome, we analyzed the viral community of one adult individual over 2.5 y by extremely deep metagenomic sequencing (56 billion bases of purified viral sequence from 24 longitudinal fecal samples). After assembly, 478 well-determined contigs could be identified, which are inferred to correspond mostly to previously unstudied bacteriophage genomes. Fully 80% of these types persisted throughout the duration of the 2.5-y study, indicating long-term global stability. Mechanisms of base substitution, rates of accumulation, and the amount of variation varied among viral types. Temperate phages showed relatively lower mutation rates, consistent with replication by accurate bacterial DNA polymerases in the integrated prophage state. In contrast, Microviridae, which are lytic bacteriophages with single-stranded circular DNA genomes, showed high substitution rates (>10−5 per nucleotide each day), so that sequence divergence over the 2.5-y period studied approached values sufficient to distinguish new viral species. Longitudinal changes also were associated with diversity-generating retroelements and virus-encoded Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats arrays. We infer that the extreme interpersonal diversity of human gut viruses derives from two sources, persistence of a small portion of the global virome within the gut of each individual and rapid evolution of some long-term virome members. PMID:23836644

  12. Culture and the evolution of human cooperation

    PubMed Central

    Boyd, Robert; Richerson, Peter J.

    2009-01-01

    The scale of human cooperation is an evolutionary puzzle. All of the available evidence suggests that the societies of our Pliocene ancestors were like those of other social primates, and this means that human psychology has changed in ways that support larger, more cooperative societies that characterize modern humans. In this paper, we argue that cultural adaptation is a key factor in these changes. Over the last million years or so, people evolved the ability to learn from each other, creating the possibility of cumulative, cultural evolution. Rapid cultural adaptation also leads to persistent differences between local social groups, and then competition between groups leads to the spread of behaviours that enhance their competitive ability. Then, in such culturally evolved cooperative social environments, natural selection within groups favoured genes that gave rise to new, more pro-social motives. Moral systems enforced by systems of sanctions and rewards increased the reproductive success of individuals who functioned well in such environments, and this in turn led to the evolution of other regarding motives like empathy and social emotions like shame. PMID:19805434

  13. Moment-to-moment brain signal variability: A next frontier in human brain mapping?

    PubMed Central

    Garrett, Douglas D.; Samanez-Larkin, Gregory R.; MacDonald, Stuart W.S.; Lindenberger, Ulman; McIntosh, Anthony R.; Grady, Cheryl L.

    2013-01-01

    Neuroscientists have long observed that brain activity is naturally variable from moment-to-moment, but neuroimaging research has largely ignored the potential importance of this phenomenon. An emerging research focus on within-person brain signal variability is providing novel insights, and offering highly predictive, complementary, and even orthogonal views of brain function in relation to human life-span development, cognitive performance, and various clinical conditions. As a result, brain signal variability is evolving as a bona fide signal of interest, and should no longer be dismissed as meaningless noise when mapping the human brain. PMID:23458776

  14. Genetic Differences Between Great Apes and Humans: Implications for Human Evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Varki, Ajit

    2004-03-17

    When considering protein sequences, humans are 99-100% identical to chimpanzees and bonobos, our closest evolutionary relatives. The evolution of humans (and the unique features of our species) from a common ancestor with these great apes involved many steps, influenced by interactions amongst factors of genetic, developmental, ecological, microbial, climatic, behavioral, cultural and social origin. The genetic factors can be approached by direct comparisons of human and great ape genomes, genes and gene products, and by elucidating biochemical and biological consequences of the differences. We have discovered multiple genetic and biochemical differences between humans and great apes, particularly in relationship to a family of cell surface molecules called sialic acids. These differences have implications for the human condition, ranging from susceptibility or resistance to microbial pathogens; effects on endogenous receptors in the immune system; potential effects on placental signaling; the expression of oncofetal antigens in cancers; consequences of dietary intake of animal foods; and the development of the mammalian brain. This talk will provide an overview of these and other genetic differences between humans and great apes, with attention to differences potentially relevant to the evolution of humans.

  15. "Messing with the mind": evolutionary challenges to human brain augmentation.

    PubMed

    Saniotis, Arthur; Henneberg, Maciej; Kumaratilake, Jaliya; Grantham, James P

    2014-01-01

    The issue of brain augmentation has received considerable scientific attention over the last two decades. A key factor to brain augmentation that has been widely overlooked are the complex evolutionary processes which have taken place in evolving the human brain to its current state of functioning. Like other bodily organs, the human brain has been subject to the forces of biological adaptation. The structure and function of the brain, is very complex and only now we are beginning to understand some of the basic concepts of cognition. Therefore, this article proposes that brain-machine interfacing and nootropics are not going to produce "augmented" brains because we do not understand enough about how evolutionary pressures have informed the neural networks which support human cognitive faculties. PMID:25324734

  16. Reconstructing phylogenies and phenotypes: a molecular view of human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bradley, Brenda J

    2008-01-01

    This review broadly summarizes how molecular biology has contributed to our understanding of human evolution. Molecular anthropology began in the 1960s with immunological comparisons indicating that African apes and humans were closely related and, indeed, shared a common ancestor as recently as 5 million years ago. Although initially dismissed, this finding has proven robust and numerous lines of molecular evidence now firmly place the human-ape divergence at 4–8 Ma. Resolving the trichotomy among humans, chimpanzees and gorillas took a few more decades. Despite the readily apparent physical similarities shared by African apes to the exclusion of modern humans (body hair, knuckle-walking, thin tooth enamel), the molecular support for a human–chimpanzee clade is now overwhelming. More recently, whole genome sequencing and gene mapping have shifted the focus of molecular anthropology from phylogenetic analyses to phenotypic reconstruction and functional genomics. We are starting to identify the genetic basis of the morphological, physiological and behavioural traits that distinguish modern humans from apes and apes from other primates. Most notably, recent comparative genomic analyses strongly indicate that the marked differences between modern humans and chimpanzees are likely due more to changes in gene regulation than to modifications of the genes themselves, an idea first proposed over 30 years ago. Almost weekly, press releases describe newly identified genes and regulatory elements that seem to have undergone strong positive selection along the human lineage. Loci involved in speech (e.g. FOXP2), brain development (e.g. ASPM), and skull musculature (e.g. MYH16) have been of particular interest, but some surprising candidate loci (e.g. those involved in auditory capabilities) have emerged as well. Exciting new research avenues, such as the Neanderthal Genome Project, promise that molecular analyses will continue to provide novel insights about our evolution

  17. Epistatic adaptive evolution of human color vision.

    PubMed

    Yokoyama, Shozo; Xing, Jinyi; Liu, Yang; Faggionato, Davide; Altun, Ahmet; Starmer, William T

    2014-12-01

    Establishing genotype-phenotype relationship is the key to understand the molecular mechanism of phenotypic adaptation. This initial step may be untangled by analyzing appropriate ancestral molecules, but it is a daunting task to recapitulate the evolution of non-additive (epistatic) interactions of amino acids and function of a protein separately. To adapt to the ultraviolet (UV)-free retinal environment, the short wavelength-sensitive (SWS1) visual pigment in human (human S1) switched from detecting UV to absorbing blue light during the last 90 million years. Mutagenesis experiments of the UV-sensitive pigment in the Boreoeutherian ancestor show that the blue-sensitivity was achieved by seven mutations. The experimental and quantum chemical analyses show that 4,008 of all 5,040 possible evolutionary trajectories are terminated prematurely by containing a dehydrated nonfunctional pigment. Phylogenetic analysis further suggests that human ancestors achieved the blue-sensitivity gradually and almost exclusively by epistasis. When the final stage of spectral tuning of human S1 was underway 45-30 million years ago, the middle and long wavelength-sensitive (MWS/LWS) pigments appeared and so-called trichromatic color vision was established by interprotein epistasis. The adaptive evolution of human S1 differs dramatically from orthologous pigments with a major mutational effect used in achieving blue-sensitivity in a fish and several mammalian species and in regaining UV vision in birds. These observations imply that the mechanisms of epistatic interactions must be understood by studying various orthologues in different species that have adapted to various ecological and physiological environments. PMID:25522367

  18. Epistatic Adaptive Evolution of Human Color Vision

    PubMed Central

    Yokoyama, Shozo; Xing, Jinyi; Liu, Yang; Faggionato, Davide; Altun, Ahmet; Starmer, William T.

    2014-01-01

    Establishing genotype-phenotype relationship is the key to understand the molecular mechanism of phenotypic adaptation. This initial step may be untangled by analyzing appropriate ancestral molecules, but it is a daunting task to recapitulate the evolution of non-additive (epistatic) interactions of amino acids and function of a protein separately. To adapt to the ultraviolet (UV)-free retinal environment, the short wavelength-sensitive (SWS1) visual pigment in human (human S1) switched from detecting UV to absorbing blue light during the last 90 million years. Mutagenesis experiments of the UV-sensitive pigment in the Boreoeutherian ancestor show that the blue-sensitivity was achieved by seven mutations. The experimental and quantum chemical analyses show that 4,008 of all 5,040 possible evolutionary trajectories are terminated prematurely by containing a dehydrated nonfunctional pigment. Phylogenetic analysis further suggests that human ancestors achieved the blue-sensitivity gradually and almost exclusively by epistasis. When the final stage of spectral tuning of human S1 was underway 45–30 million years ago, the middle and long wavelength-sensitive (MWS/LWS) pigments appeared and so-called trichromatic color vision was established by interprotein epistasis. The adaptive evolution of human S1 differs dramatically from orthologous pigments with a major mutational effect used in achieving blue-sensitivity in a fish and several mammalian species and in regaining UV vision in birds. These observations imply that the mechanisms of epistatic interactions must be understood by studying various orthologues in different species that have adapted to various ecological and physiological environments. PMID:25522367

  19. Epistatic adaptive evolution of human color vision.

    PubMed

    Yokoyama, Shozo; Xing, Jinyi; Liu, Yang; Faggionato, Davide; Altun, Ahmet; Starmer, William T

    2014-12-01

    Establishing genotype-phenotype relationship is the key to understand the molecular mechanism of phenotypic adaptation. This initial step may be untangled by analyzing appropriate ancestral molecules, but it is a daunting task to recapitulate the evolution of non-additive (epistatic) interactions of amino acids and function of a protein separately. To adapt to the ultraviolet (UV)-free retinal environment, the short wavelength-sensitive (SWS1) visual pigment in human (human S1) switched from detecting UV to absorbing blue light during the last 90 million years. Mutagenesis experiments of the UV-sensitive pigment in the Boreoeutherian ancestor show that the blue-sensitivity was achieved by seven mutations. The experimental and quantum chemical analyses show that 4,008 of all 5,040 possible evolutionary trajectories are terminated prematurely by containing a dehydrated nonfunctional pigment. Phylogenetic analysis further suggests that human ancestors achieved the blue-sensitivity gradually and almost exclusively by epistasis. When the final stage of spectral tuning of human S1 was underway 45-30 million years ago, the middle and long wavelength-sensitive (MWS/LWS) pigments appeared and so-called trichromatic color vision was established by interprotein epistasis. The adaptive evolution of human S1 differs dramatically from orthologous pigments with a major mutational effect used in achieving blue-sensitivity in a fish and several mammalian species and in regaining UV vision in birds. These observations imply that the mechanisms of epistatic interactions must be understood by studying various orthologues in different species that have adapted to various ecological and physiological environments.

  20. Synaptosomal lactate dehydrogenase isoenzyme composition is shifted toward aerobic forms in primate brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Duka, Tetyana; Anderson, Sarah M; Collins, Zachary; Raghanti, Mary Ann; Ely, John J; Hof, Patrick R; Wildman, Derek E; Goodman, Morris; Grossman, Lawrence I; Sherwood, Chet C

    2014-01-01

    With the evolution of a relatively large brain size in haplorhine primates (i.e. tarsiers, monkeys, apes, and humans), there have been associated changes in the molecular machinery that delivers energy to the neocortex. Here we investigated variation in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) expression and isoenzyme composition of the neocortex and striatum in primates using quantitative Western blotting and isoenzyme analysis of total homogenates and synaptosomal fractions. Analysis of isoform expression revealed that LDH in synaptosomal fractions from both forebrain regions shifted towards a predominance of the heart-type, aerobic isoform LDH-B among haplorhines as compared to strepsirrhines (i.e. lorises and lemurs), while in the total homogenate of the neocortex and striatum there was no significant difference in LDH isoenzyme composition between the primate suborders. The largest increase occurred in synapse-associated LDH-B expression in the neocortex, with an especially remarkable elevation in the ratio of LDH-B/LDH-A in humans. The phylogenetic variation in the ratio of LDH-B/LDH-A was correlated with species-typical brain mass but not the encephalization quotient. A significant LDH-B increase in the subneuronal fraction from haplorhine neocortex and striatum suggests a relatively higher rate of aerobic glycolysis that is linked to synaptosomal mitochondrial metabolism. Our results indicate that there is a differential composition of LDH isoenzymes and metabolism in synaptic terminals that evolved in primates to meet increased energy requirements in association with brain enlargement. PMID:24686273

  1. Synaptosomal lactate dehydrogenase isoenzyme composition is shifted toward aerobic forms in primate brain evolution.

    PubMed

    Duka, Tetyana; Anderson, Sarah M; Collins, Zachary; Raghanti, Mary Ann; Ely, John J; Hof, Patrick R; Wildman, Derek E; Goodman, Morris; Grossman, Lawrence I; Sherwood, Chet C

    2014-01-01

    With the evolution of a relatively large brain size in haplorhine primates (i.e. tarsiers, monkeys, apes, and humans), there have been associated changes in the molecular machinery that delivers energy to the neocortex. Here we investigated variation in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) expression and isoenzyme composition of the neocortex and striatum in primates using quantitative Western blotting and isoenzyme analysis of total homogenates and synaptosomal fractions. Analysis of isoform expression revealed that LDH in synaptosomal fractions from both forebrain regions shifted towards a predominance of the heart-type, aerobic isoform LDH-B among haplorhines as compared to strepsirrhines (i.e. lorises and lemurs), while in the total homogenate of the neocortex and striatum there was no significant difference in LDH isoenzyme composition between the primate suborders. The largest increase occurred in synapse-associated LDH-B expression in the neocortex, with an especially remarkable elevation in the ratio of LDH-B/LDH-A in humans. The phylogenetic variation in the ratio of LDH-B/LDH-A was correlated with species-typical brain mass but not the encephalization quotient. A significant LDH-B increase in the subneuronal fraction from haplorhine neocortex and striatum suggests a relatively higher rate of aerobic glycolysis that is linked to synaptosomal mitochondrial metabolism. Our results indicate that there is a differential composition of LDH isoenzymes and metabolism in synaptic terminals that evolved in primates to meet increased energy requirements in association with brain enlargement.

  2. SYNAPTOSOMAL LACTATE DEHYDROGENASE ISOENZYME COMPOSITION IS SHIFTED TOWARD AEROBIC FORMS IN PRIMATE BRAIN EVOLUTION

    PubMed Central

    Duka, Tetyana; Anderson, Sarah M.; Collins, Zachary; Raghanti, Mary Ann; Ely, John J.; Hof, Patrick R.; Wildman, Derek E.; Goodman, Morris; Grossman, Lawrence I.; Sherwood, Chet C.

    2014-01-01

    With the evolution of a relatively large brain size in haplorhine primates (i.e., tarsiers, monkeys, apes and humans), there have been associated changes in the molecular machinery that delivers energy to the neocortex. Here we investigated variation in lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) expression and isoenzyme composition of the neocortex and striatum in primates using quantitative Western blotting and isoenzyme analysis of total homogenates and synaptosomal fractions. Analysis of isoform expression revealed that LDH in the synaptosomal fraction from both forebrain regions shifted towards a predominance of the heart-type, aerobic isoforms, LDHB, among haplorhines as compared to strepsirrhines (i.e., lorises and lemurs), while in total homogenate of neocortex and striatum there was no significant difference in the LDH isoenzyme composition between the primate suborders. The largest increase occurred in synapse-associated LDH-B expression in the neocortex, displaying an especially remarkable elevation in the ratio of LDH-B to LDH-A in humans. The phylogenetic variation in LDH-B to LDH-A ratio was correlated with species typical brain mass, but not encephalization quotient. A significant LDHB increase in the sub-neuronal fraction from haplorhine neocortex and striatum suggests a relatively higher rate of aerobic glycolysis that is linked to synaptosomal mitochondrial metabolism. Our results indicate that there is differential composition of LDH isoenzymes and metabolism in synaptic terminals that evolved in primates to meet increased energy requirements in association with brain enlargement. PMID:24686273

  3. Darwin and the Evolution of Human Cooperation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sigmund, Karl; Hilbe, Christian

    Humans are characterized by a high propensity for cooperation. The emergence and stability of this trait is one of the hottest topics in evolutionary game theory, and leads to a wide variety of models offering a rich source of complex dynamics based on social interactions. This chapter offers an overview of different approaches to this topic (such as kin selection, group selection, direct and indirect reciprocity) and relates it to some of the views that Darwin expressed over 150 years ago. It turns out that, in many cases, Darwin displayed a remarkably lucid intuition of the major issues affecting the complex mechanisms promoting the evolution of cooperation.

  4. Interspecies activity correlations reveal functional correspondence between monkey and human brain areas.

    PubMed

    Mantini, Dante; Hasson, Uri; Betti, Viviana; Perrucci, Mauro G; Romani, Gian Luca; Corbetta, Maurizio; Orban, Guy A; Vanduffel, Wim

    2012-02-05

    Evolution-driven functional changes in the primate brain are typically assessed by aligning monkey and human activation maps using cortical surface expansion models. These models use putative homologous areas as registration landmarks, assuming they are functionally correspondent. For cases in which functional changes have occurred in an area, this assumption prohibits to reveal whether other areas may have assumed lost functions. Here we describe a method to examine functional correspondences across species. Without making spatial assumptions, we assessed similarities in sensory-driven functional magnetic resonance imaging responses between monkey (Macaca mulatta) and human brain areas by temporal correlation. Using natural vision data, we revealed regions for which functional processing has shifted to topologically divergent locations during evolution. We conclude that substantial evolution-driven functional reorganizations have occurred, not always consistent with cortical expansion processes. This framework for evaluating changes in functional architecture is crucial to building more accurate evolutionary models.

  5. Coexpression networks identify brain region-specific enhancer RNAs in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Yao, Pu; Lin, Peijie; Gokoolparsadh, Akira; Assareh, Amelia; Thang, Mike W C; Voineagu, Irina

    2015-08-01

    Despite major progress in identifying enhancer regions on a genome-wide scale, the majority of available data are limited to model organisms and human transformed cell lines. We have identified a robust set of enhancer RNAs (eRNAs) expressed in the human brain and constructed networks assessing eRNA-gene coexpression interactions across human fetal brain and multiple adult brain regions. Our data identify brain region-specific eRNAs and show that enhancer regions expressing eRNAs are enriched for genetic variants associated with autism spectrum disorders.

  6. On the nature and evolution of the neural bases of human language

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lieberman, Philip

    2002-01-01

    The traditional theory equating the brain bases of language with Broca's and Wernicke's neocortical areas is wrong. Neural circuits linking activity in anatomically segregated populations of neurons in subcortical structures and the neocortex throughout the human brain regulate complex behaviors such as walking, talking, and comprehending the meaning of sentences. When we hear or read a word, neural structures involved in the perception or real-world associations of the word are activated as well as posterior cortical regions adjacent to Wernicke's area. Many areas of the neocortex and subcortical structures support the cortical-striatal-cortical circuits that confer complex syntactic ability, speech production, and a large vocabulary. However, many of these structures also form part of the neural circuits regulating other aspects of behavior. For example, the basal ganglia, which regulate motor control, are also crucial elements in the circuits that confer human linguistic ability and abstract reasoning. The cerebellum, traditionally associated with motor control, is active in motor learning. The basal ganglia are also key elements in reward-based learning. Data from studies of Broca's aphasia, Parkinson's disease, hypoxia, focal brain damage, and a genetically transmitted brain anomaly (the putative "language gene," family KE), and from comparative studies of the brains and behavior of other species, demonstrate that the basal ganglia sequence the discrete elements that constitute a complete motor act, syntactic process, or thought process. Imaging studies of intact human subjects and electrophysiologic and tracer studies of the brains and behavior of other species confirm these findings. As Dobzansky put it, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" (cited in Mayr, 1982). That applies with as much force to the human brain and the neural bases of language as it does to the human foot or jaw. The converse follows: the mark of evolution on

  7. On the nature and evolution of the neural bases of human language.

    PubMed

    Lieberman, Philip

    2002-01-01

    The traditional theory equating the brain bases of language with Broca's and Wernicke's neocortical areas is wrong. Neural circuits linking activity in anatomically segregated populations of neurons in subcortical structures and the neocortex throughout the human brain regulate complex behaviors such as walking, talking, and comprehending the meaning of sentences. When we hear or read a word, neural structures involved in the perception or real-world associations of the word are activated as well as posterior cortical regions adjacent to Wernicke's area. Many areas of the neocortex and subcortical structures support the cortical-striatal-cortical circuits that confer complex syntactic ability, speech production, and a large vocabulary. However, many of these structures also form part of the neural circuits regulating other aspects of behavior. For example, the basal ganglia, which regulate motor control, are also crucial elements in the circuits that confer human linguistic ability and abstract reasoning. The cerebellum, traditionally associated with motor control, is active in motor learning. The basal ganglia are also key elements in reward-based learning. Data from studies of Broca's aphasia, Parkinson's disease, hypoxia, focal brain damage, and a genetically transmitted brain anomaly (the putative "language gene," family KE), and from comparative studies of the brains and behavior of other species, demonstrate that the basal ganglia sequence the discrete elements that constitute a complete motor act, syntactic process, or thought process. Imaging studies of intact human subjects and electrophysiologic and tracer studies of the brains and behavior of other species confirm these findings. As Dobzansky put it, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" (cited in Mayr, 1982). That applies with as much force to the human brain and the neural bases of language as it does to the human foot or jaw. The converse follows: the mark of evolution on

  8. On the nature and evolution of the neural bases of human language.

    PubMed

    Lieberman, Philip

    2002-01-01

    The traditional theory equating the brain bases of language with Broca's and Wernicke's neocortical areas is wrong. Neural circuits linking activity in anatomically segregated populations of neurons in subcortical structures and the neocortex throughout the human brain regulate complex behaviors such as walking, talking, and comprehending the meaning of sentences. When we hear or read a word, neural structures involved in the perception or real-world associations of the word are activated as well as posterior cortical regions adjacent to Wernicke's area. Many areas of the neocortex and subcortical structures support the cortical-striatal-cortical circuits that confer complex syntactic ability, speech production, and a large vocabulary. However, many of these structures also form part of the neural circuits regulating other aspects of behavior. For example, the basal ganglia, which regulate motor control, are also crucial elements in the circuits that confer human linguistic ability and abstract reasoning. The cerebellum, traditionally associated with motor control, is active in motor learning. The basal ganglia are also key elements in reward-based learning. Data from studies of Broca's aphasia, Parkinson's disease, hypoxia, focal brain damage, and a genetically transmitted brain anomaly (the putative "language gene," family KE), and from comparative studies of the brains and behavior of other species, demonstrate that the basal ganglia sequence the discrete elements that constitute a complete motor act, syntactic process, or thought process. Imaging studies of intact human subjects and electrophysiologic and tracer studies of the brains and behavior of other species confirm these findings. As Dobzansky put it, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" (cited in Mayr, 1982). That applies with as much force to the human brain and the neural bases of language as it does to the human foot or jaw. The converse follows: the mark of evolution on

  9. The evolution of brain surgery on awake patients.

    PubMed

    Surbeck, Werner; Hildebrandt, Gerhard; Duffau, Hugues

    2015-01-01

    In the early days of modern neurological surgery, the inconveniences and potential dangers of general anesthesia by chloroform and ether using the so-called "open-drop technique" led to the quest for alternative methods of anesthesia. Besides preventing the feared side effects, the introduction of regional anesthesia revealed another decisive advantage over general anesthesia in neurosurgery: While intraoperative direct cortical stimulation under general anesthesia could only delineate the motor area (by evocation of contralateral muscular contraction), now, the awake patients were able to report sensations elicited by this method. These properties advanced regional anesthesia to the regimen of choice for cranial surgeries in the first half of the 20th century. While technical advances and new drugs led to a progressive return to general anesthesia for neurosurgical procedures, the use of regional anesthesia for epilepsy surgery has only decreased in recent decades. Meanwhile, awake craniotomies regained popularity in oncologically motivated surgeries, especially in craniotomies for diffuse low-grade gliomas. Intraoperative mapping of brain functions using electrical stimulation in awake patients enables not only for increased tumor removal while preserving the functional status of the patients but also opens a window to cognitive neuroscience. Observations during such interventions and their correlation with both pre - and postoperative neuropsychological examinations and functional neuroimaging is progressively leading to new insights into the complex functional anatomy of the human brain. Furthermore, it broadens our knowledge on cerebral network reorganization in the presence of disease-with implications for all disciplines of clinical neuroscience.

  10. Evolution of oxytocin pathways in the brain of vertebrates.

    PubMed

    Knobloch, H Sophie; Grinevich, Valery

    2014-01-01

    The central oxytocin system transformed tremendously during the evolution, thereby adapting to the expanding properties of species. In more basal vertebrates (paraphyletic taxon Anamnia, which includes agnathans, fish and amphibians), magnocellular neurosecretory neurons producing homologs of oxytocin reside in the wall of the third ventricle of the hypothalamus composing a single hypothalamic structure, the preoptic nucleus. This nucleus further diverged in advanced vertebrates (monophyletic taxon Amniota, which includes reptiles, birds, and mammals) into the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei with accessory nuclei (AN) between them. The individual magnocellular neurons underwent a process of transformation from primitive uni- or bipolar neurons into highly differentiated neurons. Due to these microanatomical and cytological changes, the ancient release modes of oxytocin into the cerebrospinal fluid were largely replaced by vascular release. However, the most fascinating feature of the progressive transformations of the oxytocin system has been the expansion of oxytocin axonal projections to forebrain regions. In the present review we provide a background on these evolutionary advancements. Furthermore, we draw attention to the non-synaptic axonal release in small and defined brain regions with the aim to clearly distinguish this way of oxytocin action from the classical synaptic transmission on one side and from dendritic release followed by a global diffusion on the other side. Finally, we will summarize the effects of oxytocin and its homologs on pro-social reproductive behaviors in representatives of the phylogenetic tree and will propose anatomically plausible pathways of oxytocin release contributing to these behaviors in basal vertebrates and amniots. PMID:24592219

  11. Evolution of oxytocin pathways in the brain of vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Knobloch, H. Sophie; Grinevich, Valery

    2014-01-01

    The central oxytocin system transformed tremendously during the evolution, thereby adapting to the expanding properties of species. In more basal vertebrates (paraphyletic taxon Anamnia, which includes agnathans, fish and amphibians), magnocellular neurosecretory neurons producing homologs of oxytocin reside in the wall of the third ventricle of the hypothalamus composing a single hypothalamic structure, the preoptic nucleus. This nucleus further diverged in advanced vertebrates (monophyletic taxon Amniota, which includes reptiles, birds, and mammals) into the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei with accessory nuclei (AN) between them. The individual magnocellular neurons underwent a process of transformation from primitive uni- or bipolar neurons into highly differentiated neurons. Due to these microanatomical and cytological changes, the ancient release modes of oxytocin into the cerebrospinal fluid were largely replaced by vascular release. However, the most fascinating feature of the progressive transformations of the oxytocin system has been the expansion of oxytocin axonal projections to forebrain regions. In the present review we provide a background on these evolutionary advancements. Furthermore, we draw attention to the non-synaptic axonal release in small and defined brain regions with the aim to clearly distinguish this way of oxytocin action from the classical synaptic transmission on one side and from dendritic release followed by a global diffusion on the other side. Finally, we will summarize the effects of oxytocin and its homologs on pro-social reproductive behaviors in representatives of the phylogenetic tree and will propose anatomically plausible pathways of oxytocin release contributing to these behaviors in basal vertebrates and amniots. PMID:24592219

  12. A Theory of Marks and Mind: The Effect of Notational Systems on Hominid Brain Evolution and Child Development with an Emphasis on Exchanges between Mothers and Children

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Sheridan, Susan Rich

    2005-01-01

    A model of human language requires a theory of meaningful marks. Humans are the only species who use marks to think. A theory of marks identifies children's scribbles as significant behavior, while hypothesizing the importance of notational systems to hominid brain evolution. By recognizing the importance of children's scribbles and drawings in…

  13. Third brain ventricle deformation analysis using fractional differentiation and evolution strategy in brain cine-MRI

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakib, Amir; Aiboud, Fazia; Hodel, Jerome; Siarry, Patrick; Decq, Philippe

    2010-03-01

    In this paper, we present an original method to evaluate the deformations in the third cerebral ventricle on a brain cine- MR imaging. First, a segmentation process, based on a fractional differentiation method, is directly applied on a 2D+t dataset to detect the contours of the region of interest (i.e. lamina terminalis). Then, the successive segmented contours are matched using a procedure of global alignment, followed by a morphing process, based on the Covariance Matrix Adaptation Evolution Strategy (CMAES). Finally, local measurements of deformations are derived from the previously determined matched contours. The validation step is realized by comparing our results with the measurements achieved on the same patients by an expert.

  14. 5-HT radioligands for human brain imaging with PET and SPECT.

    PubMed

    Paterson, Louise M; Kornum, Birgitte R; Nutt, David J; Pike, Victor W; Knudsen, Gitte M

    2013-01-01

    The serotonergic system plays a key modulatory role in the brain and is the target for many drug treatments for brain disorders either through reuptake blockade or via interactions at the 14 subtypes of 5-HT receptors. This review provides the history and current status of radioligands used for positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) imaging of human brain serotonin (5-HT) receptors, the 5-HT transporter (SERT), and 5-HT synthesis rate. Currently available radioligands for in vivo brain imaging of the 5-HT system in humans include antagonists for the 5-HT(1A), 5-HT(1B), 5-HT(2A), and 5-HT(4) receptors, and for SERT. Here we describe the evolution of these radioligands, along with the attempts made to develop radioligands for additional serotonergic targets. We describe the properties needed for a radioligand to become successful and the main caveats. The success of a PET or SPECT radioligand can ultimately be assessed by its frequency of use, its utility in humans, and the number of research sites using it relative to its invention date, and so these aspects are also covered. In conclusion, the development of PET and SPECT radioligands to image serotonergic targets is of high interest, and successful evaluation in humans is leading to invaluable insight into normal and abnormal brain function, emphasizing the need for continued development of both SPECT and PET radioligands for human brain imaging.

  15. A Culture-Behavior-Brain Loop Model of Human Development.

    PubMed

    Han, Shihui; Ma, Yina

    2015-11-01

    Increasing evidence suggests that cultural influences on brain activity are associated with multiple cognitive and affective processes. These findings prompt an integrative framework to account for dynamic interactions between culture, behavior, and the brain. We put forward a culture-behavior-brain (CBB) loop model of human development that proposes that culture shapes the brain by contextualizing behavior, and the brain fits and modifies culture via behavioral influences. Genes provide a fundamental basis for, and interact with, the CBB loop at both individual and population levels. The CBB loop model advances our understanding of the dynamic relationships between culture, behavior, and the brain, which are crucial for human phylogeny and ontogeny. Future brain changes due to cultural influences are discussed based on the CBB loop model.

  16. The evolution of human artistic creativity

    PubMed Central

    Morriss-Kay, Gillian M

    2010-01-01

    Creating visual art is one of the defining characteristics of the human species, but the paucity of archaeological evidence means that we have limited information on the origin and evolution of this aspect of human culture. The components of art include colour, pattern and the reproduction of visual likeness. The 2D and 3D art forms that were created by Upper Palaeolithic Europeans at least 30 000 years ago are conceptually equivalent to those created in recent centuries, indicating that human cognition and symbolling activity, as well as anatomy, were fully modern by that time. The origins of art are therefore much more ancient and lie within Africa, before worldwide human dispersal. The earliest known evidence of ‘artistic behaviour’ is of human body decoration, including skin colouring with ochre and the use of beads, although both may have had functional origins. Zig-zag and criss-cross patterns, nested curves and parallel lines are the earliest known patterns to have been created separately from the body; their similarity to entopic phenomena (involuntary products of the visual system) suggests a physiological origin. 3D art may have begun with human likeness recognition in natural objects, which were modified to enhance that likeness; some 2D art has also clearly been influenced by suggestive features of an uneven surface. The creation of images from the imagination, or ‘the mind’s eye’, required a seminal evolutionary change in the neural structures underpinning perception; this change would have had a survival advantage in both tool-making and hunting. Analysis of early tool-making techniques suggests that creating 3D objects (sculptures and reliefs) involves their cognitive deconstruction into a series of surfaces, a principle that could have been applied to early sculpture. The cognitive ability to create art separate from the body must have originated in Africa but the practice may have begun at different times in genetically and culturally

  17. The evolution of human artistic creativity.

    PubMed

    Morriss-Kay, Gillian M

    2010-02-01

    Creating visual art is one of the defining characteristics of the human species, but the paucity of archaeological evidence means that we have limited information on the origin and evolution of this aspect of human culture. The components of art include colour, pattern and the reproduction of visual likeness. The 2D and 3D art forms that were created by Upper Palaeolithic Europeans at least 30,000 years ago are conceptually equivalent to those created in recent centuries, indicating that human cognition and symbolling activity, as well as anatomy, were fully modern by that time. The origins of art are therefore much more ancient and lie within Africa, before worldwide human dispersal. The earliest known evidence of 'artistic behaviour' is of human body decoration, including skin colouring with ochre and the use of beads, although both may have had functional origins. Zig-zag and criss-cross patterns, nested curves and parallel lines are the earliest known patterns to have been created separately from the body; their similarity to entopic phenomena (involuntary products of the visual system) suggests a physiological origin. 3D art may have begun with human likeness recognition in natural objects, which were modified to enhance that likeness; some 2D art has also clearly been influenced by suggestive features of an uneven surface. The creation of images from the imagination, or 'the mind's eye', required a seminal evolutionary change in the neural structures underpinning perception; this change would have had a survival advantage in both tool-making and hunting. Analysis of early tool-making techniques suggests that creating 3D objects (sculptures and reliefs) involves their cognitive deconstruction into a series of surfaces, a principle that could have been applied to early sculpture. The cognitive ability to create art separate from the body must have originated in Africa but the practice may have begun at different times in genetically and culturally distinct

  18. Developmental origins of mosaic brain evolution: Morphometric analysis of the developing zebra finch brain.

    PubMed

    Charvet, Christine J; Striedter, Georg F

    2009-05-10

    In adult zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), the telencephalon occupies 64% of the entire brain. This fraction is similar to what is seen in parrots, but many other birds possess a significantly smaller telencephalon. The aim of the present study was to determine the developmental time course and cellular basis of telencephalic enlargement in zebra finches, and then to compare these findings with what is known about telencephalic enlargement in other birds. To this end we estimated the volumes of all major brain regions from serial sections in embryonic and post-hatching zebra finches. We also labeled proliferating cells with antibodies against proliferating cell nuclear antigen and phosphorylated histone H3. An important finding to emerge from this work is that the telencephalon of zebra finches at hatching contains a thick proliferative subventricular zone (SVZ) that extends from the subpallium into the dorsal pallium. The data also show that the onset and offset of telencephalic neurogenesis are both delayed in zebra finches relative to quail (Galliformes). This delay in neurogenesis, in conjunction with the expanded SVZ, probably accounts for most of the telencephalic enlargement in passerines such as the zebra finch. In addition, passerines enlarged their telencephalon by decreasing the proportional size of their midbrain tectum. Because the presumptive tectum is proportionally smaller in zebra finches than quail before neurogenesis begins, this difference in tectum size cannot be due to evolutionary alterations in neurogenesis timing. Collectively these findings indicate that several different developmental mechanisms underlie the evolution of a large telencephalon in passerines.

  19. Understanding the Evolution of Mammalian Brain Structures; the Need for a (New) Cerebrotype Approach

    PubMed Central

    Willemet, Romain

    2012-01-01

    The mammalian brain varies in size by a factor of 100,000 and is composed of anatomically and functionally distinct structures. Theoretically, the manner in which brain composition can evolve is limited, ranging from highly modular (“mosaic evolution”) to coordinated changes in brain structure size (“concerted evolution”) or anything between these two extremes. There is a debate about the relative importance of these distinct evolutionary trends. It is shown here that the presence of taxa-specific allometric relationships between brain structures makes a taxa-specific approach obligatory. In some taxa, the evolution of the size of brain structures follows a unique, coordinated pattern, which, in addition to other characteristics at different anatomical levels, defines what has been called here a “taxon cerebrotype”. In other taxa, no clear pattern is found, reflecting heterogeneity of the species’ lifestyles. These results suggest that the evolution of brain size and composition depends on the complex interplay between selection pressures and constraints that have changed constantly during mammalian evolution. Therefore the variability in brain composition between species should not be considered as deviations from the normal, concerted mammalian trend, but in taxa and species-specific versions of the mammalian brain. Because it forms homogenous groups of species within this complex “space” of constraints and selection pressures, the cerebrotype approach developed here could constitute an adequate level of analysis for evo-devo studies, and by extension, for a wide range of disciplines related to brain evolution. PMID:24962772

  20. Human brain networks function in connectome-specific harmonic waves.

    PubMed

    Atasoy, Selen; Donnelly, Isaac; Pearson, Joel

    2016-01-21

    A key characteristic of human brain activity is coherent, spatially distributed oscillations forming behaviour-dependent brain networks. However, a fundamental principle underlying these networks remains unknown. Here we report that functional networks of the human brain are predicted by harmonic patterns, ubiquitous throughout nature, steered by the anatomy of the human cerebral cortex, the human connectome. We introduce a new technique extending the Fourier basis to the human connectome. In this new frequency-specific representation of cortical activity, that we call 'connectome harmonics', oscillatory networks of the human brain at rest match harmonic wave patterns of certain frequencies. We demonstrate a neural mechanism behind the self-organization of connectome harmonics with a continuous neural field model of excitatory-inhibitory interactions on the connectome. Remarkably, the critical relation between the neural field patterns and the delicate excitation-inhibition balance fits the neurophysiological changes observed during the loss and recovery of consciousness.

  1. Human brain networks function in connectome-specific harmonic waves

    PubMed Central

    Atasoy, Selen; Donnelly, Isaac; Pearson, Joel

    2016-01-01

    A key characteristic of human brain activity is coherent, spatially distributed oscillations forming behaviour-dependent brain networks. However, a fundamental principle underlying these networks remains unknown. Here we report that functional networks of the human brain are predicted by harmonic patterns, ubiquitous throughout nature, steered by the anatomy of the human cerebral cortex, the human connectome. We introduce a new technique extending the Fourier basis to the human connectome. In this new frequency-specific representation of cortical activity, that we call ‘connectome harmonics', oscillatory networks of the human brain at rest match harmonic wave patterns of certain frequencies. We demonstrate a neural mechanism behind the self-organization of connectome harmonics with a continuous neural field model of excitatory–inhibitory interactions on the connectome. Remarkably, the critical relation between the neural field patterns and the delicate excitation–inhibition balance fits the neurophysiological changes observed during the loss and recovery of consciousness. PMID:26792267

  2. Polygamy and the evolution of human longevity.

    PubMed

    Strehler, B L

    1979-02-01

    An alternative to previous explanations of the rapid increase in man's longevity and intelligence during the several million years of his recent evolution from pre-hominid, clearly shorter-lived and less intelligent, primate ancestors is presented. The general thesis is that a very greatly accelerated rate of incorporation of favorable genes or gene combinations can be achieved in surprisingly few generations among social animals provided that dominant males become the patriarchs of many descendents by virtue of their partial or complete monopoly on available females. The conclusion is that man probably differs from his ancesters of 0.5 to 5 million years ago by many thousands of genes (both structural and regulatory) rather than the dozens or few hundreds that have been postulated on the basis of more classical treatments of selection pressures, gene frequency changes and mutation rates. The concepts developed here formally apply only to two alternative alleles, rather than to groups of genes which segregate independently, or to characters determined by multiple alleles. The appropriate mathematical treatment of the latter real situation is not readily visualized; nor is account taken of the likelihood that different tribes of pre-humans developed different specializations via the above mechanisms which were then (later) combined into an emerging human stock through matings between members of different tribes. The very great variability both in longevity and in intelligence between different races of animals such as dogs, which have been the objects of deliberate genetic selection by humans for particular heritable traits, may parallel our own recent history, even though the selection mechanism (deliberate human selection vs. polygamous dominance) is quite different in the two cases. The onset of civilizations consisting of amalgums between smaller, previously competing tribes, together with the humanitarian responsibilities to each other we share as a species

  3. Brain-Computer Interface Controlled Cyborg: Establishing a Functional Information Transfer Pathway from Human Brain to Cockroach Brain.

    PubMed

    Li, Guangye; Zhang, Dingguo

    2016-01-01

    An all-chain-wireless brain-to-brain system (BTBS), which enabled motion control of a cyborg cockroach via human brain, was developed in this work. Steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) based brain-computer interface (BCI) was used in this system for recognizing human motion intention and an optimization algorithm was proposed in SSVEP to improve online performance of the BCI. The cyborg cockroach was developed by surgically integrating a portable microstimulator that could generate invasive electrical nerve stimulation. Through Bluetooth communication, specific electrical pulse trains could be triggered from the microstimulator by BCI commands and were sent through the antenna nerve to stimulate the brain of cockroach. Serial experiments were designed and conducted to test overall performance of the BTBS with six human subjects and three cockroaches. The experimental results showed that the online classification accuracy of three-mode BCI increased from 72.86% to 78.56% by 5.70% using the optimization algorithm and the mean response accuracy of the cyborgs using this system reached 89.5%. Moreover, the results also showed that the cyborg could be navigated by the human brain to complete walking along an S-shape track with the success rate of about 20%, suggesting the proposed BTBS established a feasible functional information transfer pathway from the human brain to the cockroach brain.

  4. Brain-Computer Interface Controlled Cyborg: Establishing a Functional Information Transfer Pathway from Human Brain to Cockroach Brain

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    An all-chain-wireless brain-to-brain system (BTBS), which enabled motion control of a cyborg cockroach via human brain, was developed in this work. Steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) based brain-computer interface (BCI) was used in this system for recognizing human motion intention and an optimization algorithm was proposed in SSVEP to improve online performance of the BCI. The cyborg cockroach was developed by surgically integrating a portable microstimulator that could generate invasive electrical nerve stimulation. Through Bluetooth communication, specific electrical pulse trains could be triggered from the microstimulator by BCI commands and were sent through the antenna nerve to stimulate the brain of cockroach. Serial experiments were designed and conducted to test overall performance of the BTBS with six human subjects and three cockroaches. The experimental results showed that the online classification accuracy of three-mode BCI increased from 72.86% to 78.56% by 5.70% using the optimization algorithm and the mean response accuracy of the cyborgs using this system reached 89.5%. Moreover, the results also showed that the cyborg could be navigated by the human brain to complete walking along an S-shape track with the success rate of about 20%, suggesting the proposed BTBS established a feasible functional information transfer pathway from the human brain to the cockroach brain. PMID:26982717

  5. Brain-Computer Interface Controlled Cyborg: Establishing a Functional Information Transfer Pathway from Human Brain to Cockroach Brain.

    PubMed

    Li, Guangye; Zhang, Dingguo

    2016-01-01

    An all-chain-wireless brain-to-brain system (BTBS), which enabled motion control of a cyborg cockroach via human brain, was developed in this work. Steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) based brain-computer interface (BCI) was used in this system for recognizing human motion intention and an optimization algorithm was proposed in SSVEP to improve online performance of the BCI. The cyborg cockroach was developed by surgically integrating a portable microstimulator that could generate invasive electrical nerve stimulation. Through Bluetooth communication, specific electrical pulse trains could be triggered from the microstimulator by BCI commands and were sent through the antenna nerve to stimulate the brain of cockroach. Serial experiments were designed and conducted to test overall performance of the BTBS with six human subjects and three cockroaches. The experimental results showed that the online classification accuracy of three-mode BCI increased from 72.86% to 78.56% by 5.70% using the optimization algorithm and the mean response accuracy of the cyborgs using this system reached 89.5%. Moreover, the results also showed that the cyborg could be navigated by the human brain to complete walking along an S-shape track with the success rate of about 20%, suggesting the proposed BTBS established a feasible functional information transfer pathway from the human brain to the cockroach brain. PMID:26982717

  6. Neurodevelopmental LincRNA Microsyteny Conservation and Mammalian Brain Size Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Lewitus, Eric; Huttner, Wieland B.

    2015-01-01

    The mammalian neocortex has undergone repeated selection for increases and decreases in size and complexity, often over relatively short evolutionary time. But because probing developmental mechanisms across many species is experimentally unfeasible, it is unknown whether convergent morphologies in distantly related species are regulated by conserved developmental programs. In this work, we have taken advantage of the abundance of available mammalian genomes to find evidence of selection on genomic regions putatively regulating neurogenesis in large- versus small-brained species. Using published fetal human RNA-seq data, we show that the gene-neighborhood (i.e., microsynteny) of long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) implicated in cortical development is differentially conserved in large-brained species, lending support to the hypothesis that lincRNAs regulating neurogenesis are selectively lost in small-brained species. We provide evidence that this is not a phenomenon attributable to lincRNA expressed in all tissue types and is therefore likely to represent an adaptive function in the evolution of neurogenesis. A strong correlation between transcription factor-adjacency and lincRNA sequence conservation reinforces this conclusion. PMID:26134977

  7. Sex beyond the genitalia: The human brain mosaic.

    PubMed

    Joel, Daphna; Berman, Zohar; Tavor, Ido; Wexler, Nadav; Gaber, Olga; Stein, Yaniv; Shefi, Nisan; Pool, Jared; Urchs, Sebastian; Margulies, Daniel S; Liem, Franziskus; Hänggi, Jürgen; Jäncke, Lutz; Assaf, Yaniv

    2015-12-15

    Whereas a categorical difference in the genitals has always been acknowledged, the question of how far these categories extend into human biology is still not resolved. Documented sex/gender differences in the brain are often taken as support of a sexually dimorphic view of human brains ("female brain" or "male brain"). However, such a distinction would be possible only if sex/gender differences in brain features were highly dimorphic (i.e., little overlap between the forms of these features in males and females) and internally consistent (i.e., a brain has only "male" or only "female" features). Here, analysis of MRIs of more than 1,400 human brains from four datasets reveals extensive overlap between the distributions of females and males for all gray matter, white matter, and connections assessed. Moreover, analyses of internal consistency reveal that brains with features that are consistently at one end of the "maleness-femaleness" continuum are rare. Rather, most brains are comprised of unique "mosaics" of features, some more common in females compared with males, some more common in males compared with females, and some common in both females and males. Our findings are robust across sample, age, type of MRI, and method of analysis. These findings are corroborated by a similar analysis of personality traits, attitudes, interests, and behaviors of more than 5,500 individuals, which reveals that internal consistency is extremely rare. Our study demonstrates that, although there are sex/gender differences in the brain, human brains do not belong to one of two distinct categories: male brain/female brain.

  8. Insulin action in the human brain: evidence from neuroimaging studies.

    PubMed

    Kullmann, S; Heni, M; Fritsche, A; Preissl, H

    2015-06-01

    Thus far, little is known about the action of insulin in the human brain. Nonetheless, recent advances in modern neuroimaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or magnetoencephalography (MEG), have made it possible to investigate the action of insulin in the brain in humans, providing new insights into the pathogenesis of brain insulin resistance and obesity. Using MEG, the clinical relevance of the action of insulin in the brain was first identified, linking cerebral insulin resistance with peripheral insulin resistance, genetic predisposition and weight loss success in obese adults. Although MEG is a suitable tool for measuring brain activity mainly in cortical areas, fMRI provides high spatial resolution for cortical as well as subcortical regions. Thus, the action of insulin can be detected within all eating behaviour relevant regions, which include regions deeply located within the brain, such as the hypothalamus, midbrain and brainstem, as well as regions within the striatum. In this review, we outline recent advances in the field of neuroimaging aiming to investigate the action of insulin in the human brain using different routes of insulin administration. fMRI studies have shown a significant insulin-induced attenuation predominantly in the occipital and prefrontal cortical regions and the hypothalamus, successfully localising insulin-sensitive brain regions in healthy, mostly normal-weight individuals. However, further studies are needed to localise brain areas affected by insulin resistance in obese individuals, which is an important prerequisite for selectively targeting brain insulin resistance in obesity.

  9. Genomic connectivity networks based on the BrainSpan atlas of the developing human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mahfouz, Ahmed; Ziats, Mark N.; Rennert, Owen M.; Lelieveldt, Boudewijn P. F.; Reinders, Marcel J. T.

    2014-03-01

    The human brain comprises systems of networks that span the molecular, cellular, anatomic and functional levels. Molecular studies of the developing brain have focused on elucidating networks among gene products that may drive cellular brain development by functioning together in biological pathways. On the other hand, studies of the brain connectome attempt to determine how anatomically distinct brain regions are connected to each other, either anatomically (diffusion tensor imaging) or functionally (functional MRI and EEG), and how they change over development. A global examination of the relationship between gene expression and connectivity in the developing human brain is necessary to understand how the genetic signature of different brain regions instructs connections to other regions. Furthermore, analyzing the development of connectivity networks based on the spatio-temporal dynamics of gene expression provides a new insight into the effect of neurodevelopmental disease genes on brain networks. In this work, we construct connectivity networks between brain regions based on the similarity of their gene expression signature, termed "Genomic Connectivity Networks" (GCNs). Genomic connectivity networks were constructed using data from the BrainSpan Transcriptional Atlas of the Developing Human Brain. Our goal was to understand how the genetic signatures of anatomically distinct brain regions relate to each other across development. We assessed the neurodevelopmental changes in connectivity patterns of brain regions when networks were constructed with genes implicated in the neurodevelopmental disorder autism (autism spectrum disorder; ASD). Using graph theory metrics to characterize the GCNs, we show that ASD-GCNs are relatively less connected later in development with the cerebellum showing a very distinct expression of ASD-associated genes compared to other brain regions.

  10. Rapid evolution of the cerebellum in humans and other great apes.

    PubMed

    Barton, Robert A; Venditti, Chris

    2014-10-20

    Humans' unique cognitive abilities are usually attributed to a greatly expanded neocortex, which has been described as "the crowning achievement of evolution and the biological substrate of human mental prowess". The human cerebellum, however, contains four times more neurons than the neocortex and is attracting increasing attention for its wide range of cognitive functions. Using a method for detecting evolutionary rate changes along the branches of phylogenetic trees, we show that the cerebellum underwent rapid size increase throughout the evolution of apes, including humans, expanding significantly faster than predicted by the change in neocortex size. As a result, humans and other apes deviated significantly from the general evolutionary trend for neocortex and cerebellum to change in tandem, having significantly larger cerebella relative to neocortex size than other anthropoid primates. These results suggest that cerebellar specialization was a far more important component of human brain evolution than hitherto recognized and that technical intelligence was likely to have been at least as important as social intelligence in human cognitive evolution. Given the role of the cerebellum in sensory-motor control and in learning complex action sequences, cerebellar specialization is likely to have underpinned the evolution of humans' advanced technological capacities, which in turn may have been a preadaptation for language.

  11. Rapid evolution of the cerebellum in humans and other great apes.

    PubMed

    Barton, Robert A; Venditti, Chris

    2014-10-20

    Humans' unique cognitive abilities are usually attributed to a greatly expanded neocortex, which has been described as "the crowning achievement of evolution and the biological substrate of human mental prowess". The human cerebellum, however, contains four times more neurons than the neocortex and is attracting increasing attention for its wide range of cognitive functions. Using a method for detecting evolutionary rate changes along the branches of phylogenetic trees, we show that the cerebellum underwent rapid size increase throughout the evolution of apes, including humans, expanding significantly faster than predicted by the change in neocortex size. As a result, humans and other apes deviated significantly from the general evolutionary trend for neocortex and cerebellum to change in tandem, having significantly larger cerebella relative to neocortex size than other anthropoid primates. These results suggest that cerebellar specialization was a far more important component of human brain evolution than hitherto recognized and that technical intelligence was likely to have been at least as important as social intelligence in human cognitive evolution. Given the role of the cerebellum in sensory-motor control and in learning complex action sequences, cerebellar specialization is likely to have underpinned the evolution of humans' advanced technological capacities, which in turn may have been a preadaptation for language. PMID:25283776

  12. Cerebral organoids model human brain development and microcephaly.

    PubMed

    Lancaster, Madeline A; Renner, Magdalena; Martin, Carol-Anne; Wenzel, Daniel; Bicknell, Louise S; Hurles, Matthew E; Homfray, Tessa; Penninger, Josef M; Jackson, Andrew P; Knoblich, Juergen A

    2013-09-19

    The complexity of the human brain has made it difficult to study many brain disorders in model organisms, highlighting the need for an in vitro model of human brain development. Here we have developed a human pluripotent stem cell-derived three-dimensional organoid culture system, termed cerebral organoids, that develop various discrete, although interdependent, brain regions. These include a cerebral cortex containing progenitor populations that organize and produce mature cortical neuron subtypes. Furthermore, cerebral organoids are shown to recapitulate features of human cortical development, namely characteristic progenitor zone organization with abundant outer radial glial stem cells. Finally, we use RNA interference and patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells to model microcephaly, a disorder that has been difficult to recapitulate in mice. We demonstrate premature neuronal differentiation in patient organoids, a defect that could help to explain the disease phenotype. Together, these data show that three-dimensional organoids can recapitulate development and disease even in this most complex human tissue.

  13. Cerebral organoids model human brain development and microcephaly

    PubMed Central

    Lancaster, Madeline A.; Renner, Magdalena; Martin, Carol-Anne; Wenzel, Daniel; Bicknell, Louise S.; Hurles, Matthew E.; Homfray, Tessa; Penninger, Josef M.; Jackson, Andrew P.; Knoblich, Juergen A.

    2013-01-01

    The complexity of the human brain has made it difficult to study many brain disorders in model organisms, and highlights the need for an in vitro model of human brain development. We have developed a human pluripotent stem cell-derived 3D organoid culture system, termed cerebral organoid, which develops various discrete though interdependent brain regions. These include cerebral cortex containing progenitor populations that organize and produce mature cortical neuron subtypes. Furthermore, cerebral organoids recapitulate features of human cortical development, namely characteristic progenitor zone organization with abundant outer radial glial stem cells. Finally, we use RNAi and patient-specific iPS cells to model microcephaly, a disorder that has been difficult to recapitulate in mice. We demonstrate premature neuronal differentiation in patient organoids, a defect that could explain the disease phenotype. Our data demonstrate that 3D organoids can recapitulate development and disease of even this most complex human tissue. PMID:23995685

  14. Drug-Resistant Brain Metastases: A Role for Pharmacology, Tumor Evolution, and Too-Late Therapy.

    PubMed

    Stricker, Thomas; Arteaga, Carlos L

    2015-11-01

    Two recent studies report deep molecular profiling of matched brain metastases and primary tumors. In both studies, somatic alterations in the brain metastases were frequently discordant with those in the primary tumor, suggesting divergent evolution at metastatic sites and raising questions about the use of biomarkers in patients in clinical trials with targeted therapies.

  15. Resonance of human brain under head acceleration.

    PubMed

    Laksari, Kaveh; Wu, Lyndia C; Kurt, Mehmet; Kuo, Calvin; Camarillo, David C

    2015-07-01

    Although safety standards have reduced fatal head trauma due to single severe head impacts, mild trauma from repeated head exposures may carry risks of long-term chronic changes in the brain's function and structure. To study the physical sensitivities of the brain to mild head impacts, we developed the first dynamic model of the skull-brain based on in vivo MRI data. We showed that the motion of the brain can be described by a rigid-body with constrained kinematics. We further demonstrated that skull-brain dynamics can be approximated by an under-damped system with a low-frequency resonance at around 15 Hz. Furthermore, from our previous field measurements, we found that head motions in a variety of activities, including contact sports, show a primary frequency of less than 20 Hz. This implies that typical head exposures may drive the brain dangerously close to its mechanical resonance and lead to amplified brain-skull relative motions. Our results suggest a possible cause for mild brain trauma, which could occur due to repetitive low-acceleration head oscillations in a variety of recreational and occupational activities.

  16. Fire, Lava Flows, and Human Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Medler, M. J.

    2015-12-01

    Richard Wrangham and others argue that cooked food has been obligate for our ancestors since the time of Homo erectus. This hypothesis provides a particularly compelling explanation for the smaller mouths and teeth, shorter intestines, and larger brains that separate us from other hominins. However, natural ignitions are infrequent and it is unclear how earlier hominins may have adapted to cooked food and fire before they developed the necessary intelligence to make or control fire. To address this conundrum, we present cartographical evidence that the massive and long lasting lava flows in the African Rift could have provided our ancestors with episodic access to heat and fire as the front edges of these flows formed ephemeral pockets of heat and ignition and other geothermal features. For the last several million years major lava flows have been infilling the African Rift. After major eruptions there were likely more slowly advancing lava fronts creating small areas with very specific adaptive pressures and opportunities for small isolated groups of hominins. Some of these episodes of isolation may have extended for millennia allowing these groups of early hominins to develop the adaptations Wrangham links to fire and cooked food. To examine the potential veracity of this proposal, we developed a series of maps that overlay the locations of prominent hominin dig sites with contemporaneous lava flows. These maps indicate that many important developments in hominin evolution were occurring in rough spatial and temporal proximity to active lava flows. These maps indicate it is worth considering that over the last several million years small isolated populations of hominins may have experienced unique adaptive conditions while living near the front edges of these slowly advancing lava flows.

  17. Role of maternal thyroid hormones in the developing neocortex and during human evolution

    PubMed Central

    Stenzel, Denise; Huttner, Wieland B.

    2013-01-01

    The importance of thyroid hormones during brain development has been appreciated for many decades. In humans, low levels of circulating maternal thyroid hormones, e.g., caused by maternal hypothyroidism or lack of iodine in diet, results in a wide spectrum of severe neurological defects, including neurological cretinism characterized by profound neurologic impairment and mental retardation, underlining the importance of the maternal thyroid hormone contribution. In fact, iodine intake, which is essential for thyroid hormone production in the thyroid gland, has been related to the expansion of the brain, associated with the increased cognitive capacities during human evolution. Because thyroid hormones regulate transcriptional activity of target genes via their nuclear thyroid hormone receptors (THRs), even mild and transient changes in maternal thyroid hormone levels can directly affect and alter the gene expression profile, and thus disturb fetal brain development. Here we summarize how thyroid hormones may have influenced human brain evolution through the adaptation to new habitats, concomitant with changes in diet and, therefore, iodine intake. Further, we review the current picture we gained from experimental studies in rodents on the function of maternal thyroid hormones during developmental neurogenesis. We aim to evaluate the effects of maternal thyroid hormone deficiency as well as lack of THRs and transporters on brain development and function, shedding light on the cellular behavior conducted by thyroid hormones. PMID:23882187

  18. Role of maternal thyroid hormones in the developing neocortex and during human evolution.

    PubMed

    Stenzel, Denise; Huttner, Wieland B

    2013-01-01

    The importance of thyroid hormones during brain development has been appreciated for many decades. In humans, low levels of circulating maternal thyroid hormones, e.g., caused by maternal hypothyroidism or lack of iodine in diet, results in a wide spectrum of severe neurological defects, including neurological cretinism characterized by profound neurologic impairment and mental retardation, underlining the importance of the maternal thyroid hormone contribution. In fact, iodine intake, which is essential for thyroid hormone production in the thyroid gland, has been related to the expansion of the brain, associated with the increased cognitive capacities during human evolution. Because thyroid hormones regulate transcriptional activity of target genes via their nuclear thyroid hormone receptors (THRs), even mild and transient changes in maternal thyroid hormone levels can directly affect and alter the gene expression profile, and thus disturb fetal brain development. Here we summarize how thyroid hormones may have influenced human brain evolution through the adaptation to new habitats, concomitant with changes in diet and, therefore, iodine intake. Further, we review the current picture we gained from experimental studies in rodents on the function of maternal thyroid hormones during developmental neurogenesis. We aim to evaluate the effects of maternal thyroid hormone deficiency as well as lack of THRs and transporters on brain development and function, shedding light on the cellular behavior conducted by thyroid hormones. PMID:23882187

  19. Entrainment of Perceptually Relevant Brain Oscillations by Non-Invasive Rhythmic Stimulation of the Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Thut, Gregor; Schyns, Philippe G.; Gross, Joachim

    2011-01-01

    The notion of driving brain oscillations by directly stimulating neuronal elements with rhythmic stimulation protocols has become increasingly popular in research on brain rhythms. Induction of brain oscillations in a controlled and functionally meaningful way would likely prove highly beneficial for the study of brain oscillations, and their therapeutic control. We here review conventional and new non-invasive brain stimulation protocols as to their suitability for controlled intervention into human brain oscillations. We focus on one such type of intervention, the direct entrainment of brain oscillations by a periodic external drive. We review highlights of the literature on entraining brain rhythms linked to perception and attention, and point out controversies. Behaviourally, such entrainment seems to alter specific aspects of perception depending on the frequency of stimulation, informing models on the functional role of oscillatory activity. This indicates that human brain oscillations and function may be promoted in a controlled way by focal entrainment, with great potential for probing into brain oscillations and their causal role. PMID:21811485

  20. Forthergillian Lecture. Imaging human brain function.

    PubMed

    Frackowiak, R S

    The non-invasive brain scanning techniques introduced a quarter of a century ago have become crucial for diagnosis in clinical neurology. They have also been used to investigate brain function and have provided information about normal activity and pathogenesis. They have been used to investigate functional specialization in the brain and how specialized areas communicate to generate complex integrated functions such as speech, memory, the emotions and so on. The phenomenon of brain plasticity is poorly understood and yet clinical neurologists are aware, from everyday observations, that spontaneous recovery from brain lesions is common. An improved understanding of the mechanisms of recovery may generate new therapeutic strategies and indicate ways of modulating mechanisms that promote plastic compensation for loss of function. The main methods used to investigate these issues are positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (M.R.I.). M.R.I. is also used to map brain structure. The techniques of functional brain mapping and computational morphometrics depend on high performance scanners and a validated set of analytic statistical procedures that generate reproducible data and meaningful inferences from brain scanning data. The motor system presents a good paradigm to illustrate advances made by scanning towards an understanding of plasticity at the level of brain areas. The normal motor system is organized in a nested hierarchy. Recovery from paralysis caused by internal capsule strokes involves functional reorganization manifesting itself as changed patterns of activity in the component brain areas of the normal motor system. The pattern of plastic modification depends in part on patterns of residual or disturbed connectivity after brain injury. Therapeutic manipulations in patients with Parkinson's disease using deep brain stimulation, dopaminergic agents or fetal mesencephalic transplantation provide a means to examine mechanisms underpinning

  1. Human effects on estuarine shoreline decadal evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rilo, A.; Freire, P.; Ceia, R.; Mendes, R. N.; Catalão, J.; Taborda, R.

    2012-04-01

    Due to their sheltered conditions and natural resources, estuaries were always attractive to human activities (industrial, agriculture, residential and recreation). Consequently, the complex interactions between anthropogenic and natural drivers increase estuarine shoreline vulnerability to climate changes impacts. The environmental sustainability of these systems depends on a fragile balance between societal development and natural values that can be further disturbed by climate change effects. This challenging task for scientific community, managers and stakeholders can only be accomplished with interdisplinary approaches. In this context, it seems clear that estuarine management plans should incorporate the concept of change into the planning of policy decisions since these natural dynamic areas are often under human pressure and are recognized as sensitive to climate change effects. Therefore, the knowledge about historical evolution of estuarine shoreline is important to provide new insights on the spatial and temporal dimensions of estuarine change. This paper aims to present and discuss shoreline changes due to human intervention in Tagus estuary, located on the west coast of Portugal. Detailed margins cartography, in a 550m fringe (drawn inland from the highest astronomical tide line), was performed based on 2007 orthophotos (spatial resolution of 0.5 m) analysis. Several classification categories were considered, as urbanized areas, industrial, port and airport facilities, agriculture spaces, green areas and natural zones. The estuarine bed (area bellow the highest astronomical tide line) was also mapped (including human occupation, natural habitats, morpho-sedimentary units) based on the geographic information above and LANSAT 7 TM+ images using image processing techniques. Aerial photographs dated from 1944, 1946, 1948, 1955 and 1958 were analyzed for a set of pilot zones in order to fully understand the decadal shoreline change. Estuarine bed presents

  2. General Anesthesia and Human Brain Connectivity

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Abstract General anesthesia consists of amnesia, hypnosis, analgesia, and areflexia. Of these, the mechanism of hypnosis, or loss of consciousness, has been the most elusive, yet a fascinating problem. How anesthetic agents suppress human consciousness has been investigated with neuroimaging for two decades. Anesthetics substantially reduce the global cerebral metabolic rate and blood flow with a degree of regional heterogeneity characteristic to the anesthetic agent. The thalamus appears to be a common site of modulation by several anesthetics, but this may be secondary to cortical effects. Stimulus-dependent brain activation is preserved in primary sensory areas, suggesting that unconsciousness cannot be explained by cortical deafferentation or a diminution of cortical sensory reactivity. The effect of general anesthetics in functional and effective connectivity is varied depending on the agent, dose, and network studied. At an anesthetic depth characterized by the subjects' unresponsiveness, a partial, but not complete, reduction in connectivity is generally observed. Functional connectivity of the frontoparietal association cortex is often reduced, but a causal role of this change for the loss of consciousness remains uncertain. Functional connectivity of the nonspecific (intralaminar) thalamic nuclei is preferentially reduced by propofol. Higher-order thalamocortical connectivity is also reduced with certain anesthetics. The changes in functional connectivity during anesthesia induction and emergence do not mirror each other; the recovery from anesthesia may involve increases in functional connectivity above the normal wakeful baseline. Anesthetic loss of consciousness is not a block of corticofugal information transfer, but a disruption of higher-order cortical information integration. The prime candidates for functional networks of the forebrain that play a critical role in maintaining the state of consciousness are those based on the posterior parietal

  3. Resonance of human brain under head acceleration

    PubMed Central

    Laksari, Kaveh; Wu, Lyndia C.; Kurt, Mehmet; Kuo, Calvin; Camarillo, David C.

    2015-01-01

    Although safety standards have reduced fatal head trauma due to single severe head impacts, mild trauma from repeated head exposures may carry risks of long-term chronic changes in the brain's function and structure. To study the physical sensitivities of the brain to mild head impacts, we developed the first dynamic model of the skull–brain based on in vivo MRI data. We showed that the motion of the brain can be described by a rigid-body with constrained kinematics. We further demonstrated that skull–brain dynamics can be approximated by an under-damped system with a low-frequency resonance at around 15 Hz. Furthermore, from our previous field measurements, we found that head motions in a variety of activities, including contact sports, show a primary frequency of less than 20 Hz. This implies that typical head exposures may drive the brain dangerously close to its mechanical resonance and lead to amplified brain–skull relative motions. Our results suggest a possible cause for mild brain trauma, which could occur due to repetitive low-acceleration head oscillations in a variety of recreational and occupational activities. PMID:26063824

  4. Metopic suture of Taung (Australopithecus africanus) and its implications for hominin brain evolution

    PubMed Central

    Falk, Dean; Zollikofer, Christoph P. E.; Morimoto, Naoki; Ponce de León, Marcia S.

    2012-01-01

    The type specimen for Australopithecus africanus (Taung) includes a natural endocast that reproduces most of the external morphology of the right cerebral hemisphere and a fragment of fossilized face that articulates with the endocast. Despite the fact that Taung died between 3 and 4 y of age, the endocast reproduces a small triangular-shaped remnant of the anterior fontanelle, from which a clear metopic suture (MS) courses rostrally along the midline [Hrdlička A (1925) Am J Phys Anthropol 8:379–392]. Here we describe and interpret this feature of Taung in light of comparative fossil and actualistic data on the timing of MS closure. In great apes, the MS normally fuses shortly after birth, such that unfused MS similar to Taung’s are rare. In humans, however, MS fuses well after birth, and partially or unfused MS are frequent. In gracile fossil adult hominins that lived between ∼3.0 and 1.5 million y ago, MS are also relatively frequent, indicating that the modern human-like pattern of late MS fusion may have become adaptive during early hominin evolution. Selective pressures favoring delayed fusion might have resulted from three aspects of perinatal ontogeny: (i) the difficulty of giving birth to large-headed neonates through birth canals that were reconfigured for bipedalism (the “obstetric dilemma”), (ii) high early postnatal brain growth rates, and (iii) reorganization and expansion of the frontal neocortex. Overall, our data indicate that hominin brain evolution occurred within a complex network of fetopelvic constraints, which required modification of frontal neurocranial ossification patterns. PMID:22566620

  5. Reconstituting a human brain in animals: a Jewish perspective on human sanctity.

    PubMed

    Loike, John D; Tendler, Moshe

    2008-12-01

    The potential use of stem cells in the treatment of a variety of human diseases has been a major driving force for embryonic stem cell research. Another productive area of research has been the use of human stem cells to reconstitute human organ systems in animals in an attempt to create new animal models for human diseases. However, the possibility of transplanting human embryonic brain cells or precursor brain cells into an animal fetus presents numerous ethical challenges. This paper examines, from a Jewish perspective on human dignity, several bioethical concerns related to the reconstitution of animal brains with human neurons.

  6. Ultra-fast MRI of the human brain with simultaneous multi-slice imaging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Feinberg, David A.; Setsompop, Kawin

    2013-04-01

    The recent advancement of simultaneous multi-slice imaging using multiband excitation has dramatically reduced the scan time of the brain. The evolution of this parallel imaging technique began over a decade ago and through recent sequence improvements has reduced the acquisition time of multi-slice EPI by over ten fold. This technique has recently become extremely useful for (i) functional MRI studies improving the statistical definition of neuronal networks, and (ii) diffusion based fiber tractography to visualize structural connections in the human brain. Several applications and evaluations are underway which show promise for this family of fast imaging sequences.

  7. Self-generated sounds of locomotion and ventilation and the evolution of human rhythmic abilities.

    PubMed

    Larsson, Matz

    2014-01-01

    It has been suggested that the basic building blocks of music mimic sounds of moving humans, and because the brain was primed to exploit such sounds, they eventually became incorporated in human culture. However, that raises further questions. Why do genetically close, culturally well-developed apes lack musical abilities? Did our switch to bipedalism influence the origins of music? Four hypotheses are raised: (1) Human locomotion and ventilation can mask critical sounds in the environment. (2) Synchronization of locomotion reduces that problem. (3) Predictable sounds of locomotion may stimulate the evolution of synchronized behavior. (4) Bipedal gait and the associated sounds of locomotion influenced the evolution of human rhythmic abilities. Theoretical models and research data suggest that noise of locomotion and ventilation may mask critical auditory information. People often synchronize steps subconsciously. Human locomotion is likely to produce more predictable sounds than those of non-human primates. Predictable locomotion sounds may have improved our capacity of entrainment to external rhythms and to feel the beat in music. A sense of rhythm could aid the brain in distinguishing among sounds arising from discrete sources and also help individuals to synchronize their movements with one another. Synchronization of group movement may improve perception by providing periods of relative silence and by facilitating auditory processing. The adaptive value of such skills to early ancestors may have been keener detection of prey or stalkers and enhanced communication. Bipedal walking may have influenced the development of entrainment in humans and thereby the evolution of rhythmic abilities.

  8. Self-generated sounds of locomotion and ventilation and the evolution of human rhythmic abilities.

    PubMed

    Larsson, Matz

    2014-01-01

    It has been suggested that the basic building blocks of music mimic sounds of moving humans, and because the brain was primed to exploit such sounds, they eventually became incorporated in human culture. However, that raises further questions. Why do genetically close, culturally well-developed apes lack musical abilities? Did our switch to bipedalism influence the origins of music? Four hypotheses are raised: (1) Human locomotion and ventilation can mask critical sounds in the environment. (2) Synchronization of locomotion reduces that problem. (3) Predictable sounds of locomotion may stimulate the evolution of synchronized behavior. (4) Bipedal gait and the associated sounds of locomotion influenced the evolution of human rhythmic abilities. Theoretical models and research data suggest that noise of locomotion and ventilation may mask critical auditory information. People often synchronize steps subconsciously. Human locomotion is likely to produce more predictable sounds than those of non-human primates. Predictable locomotion sounds may have improved our capacity of entrainment to external rhythms and to feel the beat in music. A sense of rhythm could aid the brain in distinguishing among sounds arising from discrete sources and also help individuals to synchronize their movements with one another. Synchronization of group movement may improve perception by providing periods of relative silence and by facilitating auditory processing. The adaptive value of such skills to early ancestors may have been keener detection of prey or stalkers and enhanced communication. Bipedal walking may have influenced the development of entrainment in humans and thereby the evolution of rhythmic abilities. PMID:23990063

  9. Is this a brain which I see before me? Modeling human neural development with pluripotent stem cells.

    PubMed

    Suzuki, Ikuo K; Vanderhaeghen, Pierre

    2015-09-15

    The human brain is arguably the most complex structure among living organisms. However, the specific mechanisms leading to this complexity remain incompletely understood, primarily because of the poor experimental accessibility of the human embryonic brain. Over recent years, technologies based on pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) have been developed to generate neural cells of various types. While the translational potential of PSC technologies for disease modeling and/or cell replacement therapies is usually put forward as a rationale for their utility, they are also opening novel windows for direct observation and experimentation of the basic mechanisms of human brain development. PSC-based studies have revealed that a number of cardinal features of neural ontogenesis are remarkably conserved in human models, which can be studied in a reductionist fashion. They have also revealed species-specific features, which constitute attractive lines of investigation to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the development of the human brain, and its link with evolution.

  10. Sex beyond the genitalia: The human brain mosaic

    PubMed Central

    Joel, Daphna; Berman, Zohar; Tavor, Ido; Wexler, Nadav; Gaber, Olga; Stein, Yaniv; Shefi, Nisan; Pool, Jared; Urchs, Sebastian; Margulies, Daniel S.; Liem, Franziskus; Hänggi, Jürgen; Jäncke, Lutz; Assaf, Yaniv

    2015-01-01

    Whereas a categorical difference in the genitals has always been acknowledged, the question of how far these categories extend into human biology is still not resolved. Documented sex/gender differences in the brain are often taken as support of a sexually dimorphic view of human brains (“female brain” or “male brain”). However, such a distinction would be possible only if sex/gender differences in brain features were highly dimorphic (i.e., little overlap between the forms of these features in males and females) and internally consistent (i.e., a brain has only “male” or only “female” features). Here, analysis of MRIs of more than 1,400 human brains from four datasets reveals extensive overlap between the distributions of females and males for all gray matter, white matter, and connections assessed. Moreover, analyses of internal consistency reveal that brains with features that are consistently at one end of the “maleness-femaleness” continuum are rare. Rather, most brains are comprised of unique “mosaics” of features, some more common in females compared with males, some more common in males compared with females, and some common in both females and males. Our findings are robust across sample, age, type of MRI, and method of analysis. These findings are corroborated by a similar analysis of personality traits, attitudes, interests, and behaviors of more than 5,500 individuals, which reveals that internal consistency is extremely rare. Our study demonstrates that, although there are sex/gender differences in the brain, human brains do not belong to one of two distinct categories: male brain/female brain. PMID:26621705

  11. Brain size and thermoregulation during the evolution of the genus Homo.

    PubMed

    Naya, Daniel E; Naya, Hugo; Lessa, Enrique P

    2016-01-01

    Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the evolution of an energetically costly brain in the genus Homo. Some of these hypotheses are based on the correlation between climatic factors and brain size recorded for this genus during the last millions of years. In this study, we propose a complementary climatic hypothesis that is based on the mechanistic connection between temperature, thermoregulation, and size of internal organs in endothermic species. We hypothesized that global cooling during the last 3.2 my may have imposed an increased energy expenditure for thermoregulation, which in the case of hominids could represent a driver for the evolution of an expanded brain, or at least, it could imply the relaxation of a negative selection pressure acting upon this costly organ. To test this idea, here we (1) assess variation in the energetic costs of thermoregulation and brain maintenance for the last 3.2 my, and (2) evaluate the relationship between Earth temperature and brain maintenance cost for the same period, taking into account the effects of body mass and fossil age. We found that: (1) the energetic cost associated with brain enlargement represents an important fraction (between 47.5% and 82.5%) of the increase in energy needed for thermoregulation; (2) fossil age is a better predictor of brain maintenance cost than Earth temperature, suggesting that (at least) another factor correlated with time was more relevant than ambient temperature in brain size evolution; and (3) there is a significant negative correlation between the energetic cost of brain and Earth temperature, even after accounting for the effect of body mass and fossil age. Thus, our results expand the current energetic framework for the study of brain size evolution in our lineage by suggesting that a fall in Earth temperature during the last millions of years may have facilitated brain enlargement.

  12. Understanding complexity in the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Bassett, Danielle S.; Gazzaniga, Michael S.

    2011-01-01

    Although the ultimate aim of neuroscientific enquiry is to gain an understanding of the brain and how its workings relate to the mind, the majority of current efforts are largely focused on small questions using increasingly detailed data. However, it might be possible to successfully address the larger question of mind–brain mechanisms if the cumulative findings from these neuroscientific studies are coupled with complementary approaches from physics and philosophy. The brain, we argue, can be understood as a complex system or network, in which mental states emerge from the interaction between multiple physical and functional levels. Achieving further conceptual progress will crucially depend on broad-scale discussions regarding the properties of cognition and the tools that are currently available or must be developed in order to study mind–brain mechanisms. PMID:21497128

  13. Centrality of Social Interaction in Human Brain Function.

    PubMed

    Hari, Riitta; Henriksson, Linda; Malinen, Sanna; Parkkonen, Lauri

    2015-10-01

    People are embedded in social interaction that shapes their brains throughout lifetime. Instead of emerging from lower-level cognitive functions, social interaction could be the default mode via which humans communicate with their environment. Should this hypothesis be true, it would have profound implications on how we think about brain functions and how we dissect and simulate them. We suggest that the research on the brain basis of social cognition and interaction should move from passive spectator science to studies including engaged participants and simultaneous recordings from the brains of the interacting persons.

  14. Reflectance Diffuse Optical Tomography: Its Application to Human Brain Mapping

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ueda, Yukio; Yamanaka, Takeshi; Yamashita, Daisuke; Suzuki, Toshihiko; Ohmae, Etsuko; Oda, Motoki; Yamashita, Yutaka

    2005-09-01

    We report the successful application of reflectance diffuse optical tomography (DOT) using near-infrared light with the new reconstruction algorithm that we developed to the observation of regional hemodynamic changes in the brain under specific mental tasks. Our results reveal the heterogeneous distribution of oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin in the brain, showing complementary images of oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin changes in certain regions. We conclude that our reflectance DOT has practical potential for human brain mapping, as well as in the diagnostic imaging of brain diseases.

  15. Optogenetic control of human neurons in organotypic brain cultures.

    PubMed

    Andersson, My; Avaliani, Natalia; Svensson, Andreas; Wickham, Jenny; Pinborg, Lars H; Jespersen, Bo; Christiansen, Søren H; Bengzon, Johan; Woldbye, David P D; Kokaia, Merab

    2016-01-01

    Optogenetics is one of the most powerful tools in neuroscience, allowing for selective control of specific neuronal populations in the brain of experimental animals, including mammals. We report, for the first time, the application of optogenetic tools to human brain tissue providing a proof-of-concept for the use of optogenetics in neuromodulation of human cortical and hippocampal neurons as a possible tool to explore network mechanisms and develop future therapeutic strategies. PMID:27098488

  16. Overview of the human brain as a distributed computing network

    SciTech Connect

    Gevins, A.S.

    1983-01-01

    The hierarchically organized human brain is viewed as a prime example of a massively parallel, adaptive information processing and process control system. A brief overview of the human brain is provided for computer architects, in hopes that the principles of massive parallelism, dense connectivity and self-organization of assemblies of processing elements will prove relevant to the design of fifth generation VLSI computing networks. 6 references.

  17. Optogenetic control of human neurons in organotypic brain cultures

    PubMed Central

    Andersson, My; Avaliani, Natalia; Svensson, Andreas; Wickham, Jenny; Pinborg, Lars H.; Jespersen, Bo; Christiansen, Søren H.; Bengzon, Johan; Woldbye, David P.D.; Kokaia, Merab

    2016-01-01

    Optogenetics is one of the most powerful tools in neuroscience, allowing for selective control of specific neuronal populations in the brain of experimental animals, including mammals. We report, for the first time, the application of optogenetic tools to human brain tissue providing a proof-of-concept for the use of optogenetics in neuromodulation of human cortical and hippocampal neurons as a possible tool to explore network mechanisms and develop future therapeutic strategies. PMID:27098488

  18. Evolution of brain size in the Palaeognath lineage, with an emphasis on new zealand ratites.

    PubMed

    Corfield, Jeremy R; Wild, J Martin; Hauber, Mark E; Parsons, Stuart; Kubke, M Fabiana

    2008-01-01

    Brain size in vertebrates varies principally with body size. Although many studies have examined the variation of brain size in birds, there is little information on Palaeognaths, which include the ratite lineage of kiwi, emu, ostrich and extinct moa, as well as the tinamous. Therefore, we set out to determine to what extent the evolution of brain size in Palaeognaths parallels that of other birds, i.e., Neognaths, by analyzing the variation in the relative sizes of the brain and cerebral hemispheres of several species of ratites and tinamous. Our results indicate that the Palaeognaths possess relatively smaller brains and cerebral hemispheres than the Neognaths, with the exception of the kiwi radiation (Apteryx spp.). The external morphology and relatively large size of the brain of Apteryx, as well as the relatively large size of its telencephalon, contrast with other Palaeognaths, including two species of historically sympatric moa, suggesting that unique selective pressures towards increasing brain size accompanied the evolution of kiwi. Indeed, the size of the cerebral hemispheres with respect to total brain size of kiwi is rivaled only by a handful of parrots and songbirds, despite a lack of evidence of any advanced behavioral/cognitive abilities such as those reported for parrots and crows. In addition, the enlargement in brain and telencephalon size of the kiwi occurs despite the fact that this is a precocial bird. These findings form an exception to, and hence challenge, the current rules that govern changes in relative brain size in birds.

  19. Predator-driven brain size evolution in natural populations of Trinidadian killifish (Rivulus hartii).

    PubMed

    Walsh, Matthew R; Broyles, Whitnee; Beston, Shannon M; Munch, Stephan B

    2016-07-13

    Vertebrates exhibit extensive variation in relative brain size. It has long been assumed that this variation is the product of ecologically driven natural selection. Yet, despite more than 100 years of research, the ecological conditions that select for changes in brain size are unclear. Recent laboratory selection experiments showed that selection for larger brains is associated with increased survival in risky environments. Such results lead to the prediction that increased predation should favour increased brain size. Work on natural populations, however, foreshadows the opposite trajectory of evolution; increased predation favours increased boldness, slower learning, and may thereby select for a smaller brain. We tested the influence of predator-induced mortality on brain size evolution by quantifying brain size variation in a Trinidadian killifish, Rivulus hartii, from communities that differ in predation intensity. We observed strong genetic differences in male (but not female) brain size between fish communities; second generation laboratory-reared males from sites with predators exhibited smaller brains than Rivulus from sites in which they are the only fish present. Such trends oppose the results of recent laboratory selection experiments and are not explained by trade-offs with other components of fitness. Our results suggest that increased male brain size is favoured in less risky environments because of the fitness benefits associated with faster rates of learning and problem-solving behaviour. PMID:27412278

  20. Neural stem cells in the adult human brain

    PubMed Central

    Gonzalez-Perez, Oscar

    2012-01-01

    For decades, it was believed that the adult brain was a quiescent organ unable to produce new neurons. At the beginning of the1960's, this dogma was challenged by a small group of neuroscientists. To date, it is well-known that new neurons are generated in the adult brain throughout life. Adult neurogenesis is primary confined to the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the forebrain and the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus within the hippocampus. In both the human and the rodent brain, the primary progenitor of adult SVZ is a subpopulation of astrocytes that have stem-cell-like features. The human SVZ possesses a peculiar cell composition and displays important organizational differences when compared to the SVZ of other mammals. Some evidence suggests that the human SVZ may be not only an endogenous source of neural precursor cells for brain repair, but also a source of brain tumors. In this review, we described the cytoarchitecture and cellular composition of the SVZ in the adult human brain. We also discussed some clinical implications of SVZ, such as: stem-cell-based therapies against neurodegenerative diseases and its potential as a source of malignant cells. Understanding the biology of human SVZ and its neural progenitors is one of the crucial steps to develop novel therapies against neurological diseases in humans. PMID:23181200

  1. Temporal and spatial evolution of brain network topology during the first two years of life.

    PubMed

    Gao, Wei; Gilmore, John H; Giovanello, Kelly S; Smith, Jeffery Keith; Shen, Dinggang; Zhu, Hongtu; Lin, Weili

    2011-01-01

    The mature brain features high wiring efficiency for information transfer. However, the emerging process of such an efficient topology remains elusive. With resting state functional MRI and a large cohort of normal pediatric subjects (n = 147) imaged during a critical time period of brain development, 3 wk- to 2 yr-old, the temporal and spatial evolution of brain network topology is revealed. The brain possesses the small world topology immediately after birth, followed by a remarkable improvement in whole brain wiring efficiency in 1 yr olds and becomes more stable in 2 yr olds. Regional developments of brain wiring efficiency and the evolution of functional hubs suggest differential development trend for primary and higher order cognitive functions during the first two years of life. Simulations of random errors and targeted attacks reveal an age-dependent improvement of resilience. The lower resilience to targeted attack observed in 3 wk old group is likely due to the fact that there are fewer well-established long-distance functional connections at this age whose elimination might have more profound implications in the overall efficiency of information transfer. Overall, our results offer new insights into the temporal and spatial evolution of brain topology during early brain development.

  2. [Generation of new nerve cells in the adult human brain].

    PubMed

    Poulsen, Frantz Rom; Meyer, Morten; Rasmussen, Jens Zimmer

    2003-03-31

    Generation of new nerve cells (neurogenesis) is normally considered to be limited to the fetal and early postnatal period. Thus, damaged nerve cells are not expected to be replaced by generation of new cells. The brain is, however, more plastic than previously assumed. This also includes neurogenesis in the adult human brain. In particular two brain regions show continuous division of neural stem and progenitor cells generating neurons and glial cells, namely the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus and the subventricular zones of the lateral ventricles. From the latter region newly generated neuroblasts (immature nerve cells) migrate toward the olfactory bulb where they differentiate into neurons. In the dentate gyrus the newly generated neurons become functionally integrated in the granule cell layer, where they are believed to be of importance to learning and memory. It is at present not known whether neurogenesis in the adult human brain can be manipulated for specific repair after brain damage.

  3. Decoding mental states from brain activity in humans.

    PubMed

    Haynes, John-Dylan; Rees, Geraint

    2006-07-01

    Recent advances in human neuroimaging have shown that it is possible to accurately decode a person's conscious experience based only on non-invasive measurements of their brain activity. Such 'brain reading' has mostly been studied in the domain of visual perception, where it helps reveal the way in which individual experiences are encoded in the human brain. The same approach can also be extended to other types of mental state, such as covert attitudes and lie detection. Such applications raise important ethical issues concerning the privacy of personal thought.

  4. Intraoperative brain cancer detection with Raman spectroscopy in humans.

    PubMed

    Jermyn, Michael; Mok, Kelvin; Mercier, Jeanne; Desroches, Joannie; Pichette, Julien; Saint-Arnaud, Karl; Bernstein, Liane; Guiot, Marie-Christine; Petrecca, Kevin; Leblond, Frederic

    2015-02-11

    Cancers are often impossible to visually distinguish from normal tissue. This is critical for brain cancer where residual invasive cancer cells frequently remain after surgery, leading to disease recurrence and a negative impact on overall survival. No preoperative or intraoperative technology exists to identify all cancer cells that have invaded normal brain. To address this problem, we developed a handheld contact Raman spectroscopy probe technique for live, local detection of cancer cells in the human brain. Using this probe intraoperatively, we were able to accurately differentiate normal brain from dense cancer and normal brain invaded by cancer cells, with a sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 91%. This Raman-based probe enabled detection of the previously undetectable diffusely invasive brain cancer cells at cellular resolution in patients with grade 2 to 4 gliomas. This intraoperative technology may therefore be able to classify cell populations in real time, making it an ideal guide for surgical resection and decision-making.

  5. A theory of marks and mind: the effect of notational systems on hominid brain evolution and child development with an emphasis on exchanges between mothers and children.

    PubMed

    Sheridan, Susan Rich

    2005-01-01

    A model of human language requires a theory of meaningful marks. Humans are the only species who use marks to think. A theory of marks identifies children's scribbles as significant behavior, while hypothesizing the importance of rotational systems to hominid brain evolution. By recognizing the importance of children's scribbles and drawings in developmental terms as well as in evolutionary terms, a marks-based rather than a predominantly speech-based theory of the human brain, language, and consciousness emerges. Combined research in anthropology, primatology, art history, neurology, child development (including research with deaf and blind children), gender studies and literacy suggests the importance of notational systems to human language, revealing the importance of mother/child interactions around marks and sounds to the development of an expressive, communicative, symbolic human brain. An understanding of human language is enriched by identifying marks carved on bone 1.9 million years ago as observational lunar calendar-keeping, pushing proto-literacy back dramatically. Neurologically, children recapitulate the meaningful marks of early hominins when they scribble and draw, reminding us that literacy belongs to humankind's earliest history. Even more than speech, such meaningful marks played - and continue to play - decisive roles in human brain evolution. The hominid brain required a model for integrative, transformative neural transfer. The research strongly suggests that humankind's multiple literacies (art, literature, scientific writing, mathematics and music) depended upon dyadic exchanges between hominid mothers and children, and that this exchange and sharing of visuo-spatial information drove the elaboration of human speech in terms of syntax, grammar and vocabulary. The human brain was spatial before it was linguistic. The child scribbles and draws before it speaks or writes. Children babble and scribble within the first two years of life. Hands

  6. Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies

    PubMed Central

    Grau, Carles; Ginhoux, Romuald; Riera, Alejandro; Nguyen, Thanh Lam; Chauvat, Hubert; Berg, Michel; Amengual, Julià L.; Pascual-Leone, Alvaro; Ruffini, Giulio

    2014-01-01

    Human sensory and motor systems provide the natural means for the exchange of information between individuals, and, hence, the basis for human civilization. The recent development of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) has provided an important element for the creation of brain-to-brain communication systems, and precise brain stimulation techniques are now available for the realization of non-invasive computer-brain interfaces (CBI). These technologies, BCI and CBI, can be combined to realize the vision of non-invasive, computer-mediated brain-to-brain (B2B) communication between subjects (hyperinteraction). Here we demonstrate the conscious transmission of information between human brains through the intact scalp and without intervention of motor or peripheral sensory systems. Pseudo-random binary streams encoding words were transmitted between the minds of emitter and receiver subjects separated by great distances, representing the realization of the first human brain-to-brain interface. In a series of experiments, we established internet-mediated B2B communication by combining a BCI based on voluntary motor imagery-controlled electroencephalographic (EEG) changes with a CBI inducing the conscious perception of phosphenes (light flashes) through neuronavigated, robotized transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), with special care taken to block sensory (tactile, visual or auditory) cues. Our results provide a critical proof-of-principle demonstration for the development of conscious B2B communication technologies. More fully developed, related implementations will open new research venues in cognitive, social and clinical neuroscience and the scientific study of consciousness. We envision that hyperinteraction technologies will eventually have a profound impact on the social structure of our civilization and raise important ethical issues. PMID:25137064

  7. Human evolution: humanistic selection and looking to the future.

    PubMed

    Krsiak, Miloslav

    2006-10-01

    Cultural evolution has predominated over biological evolution in modern man (Homo sapiens sapiens). Cultural evolution differs from biological evolution not only by inheritance of acquired characteristics but also, as is proposed in the present essay, by another kind of selection mechanism. Whereas selection in biological evolution is executed according to a criterion of reproductive success (the natural selection), selection in cultural evolution appears to be carried out according to human and humanistic criteria (success or fitness in meeting human needs, interests and humanistic values--"humanistic selection"). Many humanistic needs or values do not seem to be prerequisite for reproductive success, yet some of them (e.g. a need for freedom) seem to be inborn. Innateness, humanistic selection (decisive at a community level) and hierarchy of some human needs, interests and values appear to give cultural evolution a generally upward trend although long periods of stagnation or even regression may occur. Modern humans appear to be still at the early stage of their cultural evolution. A further cultural evolution of man appears to be, in contrast to biological evolution, predictable (with an optimistic outlook) and testable. The problem is that the hopeful result of this test will probably be known only in the fairly remote future provided that this species will not become extinct before that. PMID:17159825

  8. Magnetic resonance and the human brain: anatomy, function and metabolism.

    PubMed

    Talos, I-F; Mian, A Z; Zou, K H; Hsu, L; Goldberg-Zimring, D; Haker, S; Bhagwat, J G; Mulkern, R V

    2006-05-01

    The introduction and development, over the last three decades, of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and MR spectroscopy technology for in vivo studies of the human brain represents a truly remarkable achievement, with enormous scientific and clinical ramifications. These effectively non-invasive techniques allow for studies of the anatomy, the function and the metabolism of the living human brain. They have allowed for new understandings of how the healthy brain works and have provided insights into the mechanisms underlying multiple disease processes which affect the brain. Different MR techniques have been developed for studying anatomy, function and metabolism. The primary focus of this review is to describe these different methodologies and to briefly review how they are being employed to more fully appreciate the intricacies associated with the organ, which most distinctly differentiates the human species from the other animal forms on earth.

  9. Magnetic resonance and the human brain: anatomy, function and metabolism.

    PubMed

    Talos, I-F; Mian, A Z; Zou, K H; Hsu, L; Goldberg-Zimring, D; Haker, S; Bhagwat, J G; Mulkern, R V

    2006-05-01

    The introduction and development, over the last three decades, of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and MR spectroscopy technology for in vivo studies of the human brain represents a truly remarkable achievement, with enormous scientific and clinical ramifications. These effectively non-invasive techniques allow for studies of the anatomy, the function and the metabolism of the living human brain. They have allowed for new understandings of how the healthy brain works and have provided insights into the mechanisms underlying multiple disease processes which affect the brain. Different MR techniques have been developed for studying anatomy, function and metabolism. The primary focus of this review is to describe these different methodologies and to briefly review how they are being employed to more fully appreciate the intricacies associated with the organ, which most distinctly differentiates the human species from the other animal forms on earth. PMID:16568243

  10. Phylogenomic analyses reveal convergent patterns of adaptive evolution in elephant and human ancestries.

    PubMed

    Goodman, Morris; Sterner, Kirstin N; Islam, Munirul; Uddin, Monica; Sherwood, Chet C; Hof, Patrick R; Hou, Zhuo-Cheng; Lipovich, Leonard; Jia, Hui; Grossman, Lawrence I; Wildman, Derek E

    2009-12-01

    Specific sets of brain-expressed genes, such as aerobic energy metabolism genes, evolved adaptively in the ancestry of humans and may have evolved adaptively in the ancestry of other large-brained mammals. The recent addition of genomes from two afrotherians (elephant and tenrec) to the expanding set of publically available sequenced mammalian genomes provided an opportunity to test this hypothesis. Elephants resemble humans by having large brains and long life spans; tenrecs, in contrast, have small brains and short life spans. Thus, we investigated whether the phylogenomic patterns of adaptive evolution are more similar between elephant and human than between either elephant and tenrec lineages or human and mouse lineages, and whether aerobic energy metabolism genes are especially well represented in the elephant and human patterns. Our analyses encompassed approximately 6,000 genes in each of these lineages with each gene yielding extensive coding sequence matches in interordinal comparisons. Each gene's nonsynonymous and synonymous nucleotide substitution rates and dN/dS ratios were determined. Then, from gene ontology information on genes with the higher dN/dS ratios, we identified the more prevalent sets of genes that belong to specific functional categories and that evolved adaptively. Elephant and human lineages showed much slower nucleotide substitution rates than tenrec and mouse lineages but more adaptively evolved genes. In correlation with absolute brain size and brain oxygen consumption being largest in elephants and next largest in humans, adaptively evolved aerobic energy metabolism genes were most evident in the elephant lineage and next most evident in the human lineage.

  11. Evolution of the brain: from behavior to consciousness in 3.4 billion years.

    PubMed

    Oró, John J

    2004-06-01

    Once life began as single-cell organisms, evolution favored those able to seek nutrients and avoid risks. Receptors sensed the environment, memory traces were laid, and adaptive responses were made. Environmental stress, at times as dramatic as the collision of an asteroid, resulted in extinctions that favored small predators with dorsal nerve cords and cranially positioned brains. Myelination, and later thermoregulation, led to increasingly efficient neural processing. As somatosensory, visual, and auditory input increased, a neocortex developed containing both sensory and motor neural maps. Hominids, with their free hands, pushed cortical development further and began to make simple stone tools. Tools and increasing cognition allowed procurement of a richer diet that led to a smaller gut, thus freeing more energy for brain expansion. Multimodal association areas, initially developed for processing incoming sensory information, blossomed and began to provide the organism with an awareness of self and environment. Advancements in memory storage and retrieval gave the organism a sense of continuity through time. This developing consciousness eventually left visible traces, which today are dramatically evident on cave walls in France and Spain. We will take this journey from the single cell to human consciousness.

  12. Mechanism and evolution of hypoxia-tolerance in humans.

    PubMed

    Hochachka, P W

    1998-04-01

    To physiologists, the term 'adaptation' usually refers to any trait that is considered advantageous; evolutionary biologists require a more rigorous definition (restricting it to traits arising and maintained under selection). By their definition, many physiological traits may merely reflect inheritance passed on through lineage. In considering the evolution of tolerance to reduced oxygen availability, we examined the issue (of true adaptations versus simple inheritance) in pinnipeds (the two dominant groups, phocids and otariids, with varying diving capacities) and in human lineages exposed for varying generational periods to hypobaric hypoxia. Basic principles of the evolution of complex physiological systems first emerged from an analysis of the diving response. We then analyzed human responses to hypobaric hypoxia in three different lineages: lowlanders, Andean natives (Quechuas) and Himalayan natives (Sherpas). As in the pinniped example, we found 'conservative' and 'adaptable' physiological characters involved in human responses to hypoxia. Conservative characters are clearly dominant and are too numerous to outline in detail; three examples are haemoglobin oxygen-affinities, the organization of muscle into different fibre types and the brain's almost exclusive preference for glucose as a fuel. Most notably, we also found evidence for 'adaptable' characters at all levels of organization examined. At the whole-body level in Quechuas and Sherpas, we found (i) that maximum aerobic and anaerobic exercise capacities were down-regulated, (ii) that the acute effect of hypoxia (making up the energy deficit due to oxygen lack; i.e. the Pasteur effect) expected from lowlanders was blunted, and (iii) that acclimation effects were also attenuated. The biochemical behaviour of skeletal muscles was consistent with lowered reliance on glycolytic contributions to energy supply, thus improving the yield of ATP per mole of carbon fuel utilized. Heart adaptations also seemed to

  13. Mechanism and evolution of hypoxia-tolerance in humans.

    PubMed

    Hochachka, P W

    1998-04-01

    To physiologists, the term 'adaptation' usually refers to any trait that is considered advantageous; evolutionary biologists require a more rigorous definition (restricting it to traits arising and maintained under selection). By their definition, many physiological traits may merely reflect inheritance passed on through lineage. In considering the evolution of tolerance to reduced oxygen availability, we examined the issue (of true adaptations versus simple inheritance) in pinnipeds (the two dominant groups, phocids and otariids, with varying diving capacities) and in human lineages exposed for varying generational periods to hypobaric hypoxia. Basic principles of the evolution of complex physiological systems first emerged from an analysis of the diving response. We then analyzed human responses to hypobaric hypoxia in three different lineages: lowlanders, Andean natives (Quechuas) and Himalayan natives (Sherpas). As in the pinniped example, we found 'conservative' and 'adaptable' physiological characters involved in human responses to hypoxia. Conservative characters are clearly dominant and are too numerous to outline in detail; three examples are haemoglobin oxygen-affinities, the organization of muscle into different fibre types and the brain's almost exclusive preference for glucose as a fuel. Most notably, we also found evidence for 'adaptable' characters at all levels of organization examined. At the whole-body level in Quechuas and Sherpas, we found (i) that maximum aerobic and anaerobic exercise capacities were down-regulated, (ii) that the acute effect of hypoxia (making up the energy deficit due to oxygen lack; i.e. the Pasteur effect) expected from lowlanders was blunted, and (iii) that acclimation effects were also attenuated. The biochemical behaviour of skeletal muscles was consistent with lowered reliance on glycolytic contributions to energy supply, thus improving the yield of ATP per mole of carbon fuel utilized. Heart adaptations also seemed to

  14. Insights into Brain Glycogen Metabolism: THE STRUCTURE OF HUMAN BRAIN GLYCOGEN PHOSPHORYLASE.

    PubMed

    Mathieu, Cécile; de la Sierra-Gallay, Ines Li; Duval, Romain; Xu, Ximing; Cocaign, Angélique; Léger, Thibaut; Woffendin, Gary; Camadro, Jean-Michel; Etchebest, Catherine; Haouz, Ahmed; Dupret, Jean-Marie; Rodrigues-Lima, Fernando

    2016-08-26

    Brain glycogen metabolism plays a critical role in major brain functions such as learning or memory consolidation. However, alteration of glycogen metabolism and glycogen accumulation in the brain contributes to neurodegeneration as observed in Lafora disease. Glycogen phosphorylase (GP), a key enzyme in glycogen metabolism, catalyzes the rate-limiting step of glycogen mobilization. Moreover, the allosteric regulation of the three GP isozymes (muscle, liver, and brain) by metabolites and phosphorylation, in response to hormonal signaling, fine-tunes glycogenolysis to fulfill energetic and metabolic requirements. Whereas the structures of muscle and liver GPs have been known for decades, the structure of brain GP (bGP) has remained elusive despite its critical role in brain glycogen metabolism. Here, we report the crystal structure of human bGP in complex with PEG 400 (2.5 Å) and in complex with its allosteric activator AMP (3.4 Å). These structures demonstrate that bGP has a closer structural relationship with muscle GP, which is also activated by AMP, contrary to liver GP, which is not. Importantly, despite the structural similarities between human bGP and the two other mammalian isozymes, the bGP structures reveal molecular features unique to the brain isozyme that provide a deeper understanding of the differences in the activation properties of these allosteric enzymes by the allosteric effector AMP. Overall, our study further supports that the distinct structural and regulatory properties of GP isozymes contribute to the different functions of muscle, liver, and brain glycogen. PMID:27402852

  15. Insights into Brain Glycogen Metabolism: THE STRUCTURE OF HUMAN BRAIN GLYCOGEN PHOSPHORYLASE.

    PubMed

    Mathieu, Cécile; de la Sierra-Gallay, Ines Li; Duval, Romain; Xu, Ximing; Cocaign, Angélique; Léger, Thibaut; Woffendin, Gary; Camadro, Jean-Michel; Etchebest, Catherine; Haouz, Ahmed; Dupret, Jean-Marie; Rodrigues-Lima, Fernando

    2016-08-26

    Brain glycogen metabolism plays a critical role in major brain functions such as learning or memory consolidation. However, alteration of glycogen metabolism and glycogen accumulation in the brain contributes to neurodegeneration as observed in Lafora disease. Glycogen phosphorylase (GP), a key enzyme in glycogen metabolism, catalyzes the rate-limiting step of glycogen mobilization. Moreover, the allosteric regulation of the three GP isozymes (muscle, liver, and brain) by metabolites and phosphorylation, in response to hormonal signaling, fine-tunes glycogenolysis to fulfill energetic and metabolic requirements. Whereas the structures of muscle and liver GPs have been known for decades, the structure of brain GP (bGP) has remained elusive despite its critical role in brain glycogen metabolism. Here, we report the crystal structure of human bGP in complex with PEG 400 (2.5 Å) and in complex with its allosteric activator AMP (3.4 Å). These structures demonstrate that bGP has a closer structural relationship with muscle GP, which is also activated by AMP, contrary to liver GP, which is not. Importantly, despite the structural similarities between human bGP and the two other mammalian isozymes, the bGP structures reveal molecular features unique to the brain isozyme that provide a deeper understanding of the differences in the activation properties of these allosteric enzymes by the allosteric effector AMP. Overall, our study further supports that the distinct structural and regulatory properties of GP isozymes contribute to the different functions of muscle, liver, and brain glycogen.

  16. A New Antigen Retrieval Technique for Human Brain Tissue

    PubMed Central

    Byne, William; Haroutunian, Vahram; García-Villanueva, Mercedes; Rábano, Alberto; García-Amado, María; Prensa, Lucía; Giménez-Amaya, José Manuel

    2008-01-01

    Immunohistochemical staining of tissues is a powerful tool used to delineate the presence or absence of an antigen. During the last 30 years, antigen visualization in human brain tissue has been significantly limited by the masking effect of fixatives. In the present study, we have used a new method for antigen retrieval in formalin-fixed human brain tissue and examined the effectiveness of this protocol to reveal masked antigens in tissues with both short and long formalin fixation times. This new method, which is based on the use of citraconic acid, has not been previously utilized in brain tissue although it has been employed in various other tissues such as tonsil, ovary, skin, lymph node, stomach, breast, colon, lung and thymus. Thus, we reported here a novel method to carry out immunohistochemical studies in free-floating human brain sections. Since fixation of brain tissue specimens in formaldehyde is a commonly method used in brain banks, this new antigen retrieval method could facilitate immunohistochemical studies of brains with prolonged formalin fixation times. PMID:18852880

  17. Progress on the paternal brain: theory, animal models, human brain research, and mental health implications.

    PubMed

    Swain, J E; Dayton, C J; Kim, P; Tolman, R M; Volling, B L

    2014-01-01

    With a secure foundation in basic research across mammalian species in which fathers participate in the raising of young, novel brain-imaging approaches are outlining a set of consistent brain circuits that regulate paternal thoughts and behaviors in humans. The newest experimental paradigms include increasingly realistic baby-stimuli to provoke paternal cognitions and behaviors with coordinated hormone measures to outline brain networks that regulate motivation, reflexive caring, emotion regulation, and social brain networks with differences and similarities to those found in mothers. In this article, on the father brain, we review all brain-imaging studies on PubMed to date on the human father brain and introduce the topic with a selection of theoretical models and foundational neurohormonal research on animal models in support of the human work. We discuss potentially translatable models for the identification and treatment of paternal mood and father-child relational problems, which could improve infant mental health and developmental trajectories with potentially broad public health importance.

  18. Progress on the paternal brain: theory, animal models, human brain research, and mental health implications.

    PubMed

    Swain, J E; Dayton, C J; Kim, P; Tolman, R M; Volling, B L

    2014-01-01

    With a secure foundation in basic research across mammalian species in which fathers participate in the raising of young, novel brain-imaging approaches are outlining a set of consistent brain circuits that regulate paternal thoughts and behaviors in humans. The newest experimental paradigms include increasingly realistic baby-stimuli to provoke paternal cognitions and behaviors with coordinated hormone measures to outline brain networks that regulate motivation, reflexive caring, emotion regulation, and social brain networks with differences and similarities to those found in mothers. In this article, on the father brain, we review all brain-imaging studies on PubMed to date on the human father brain and introduce the topic with a selection of theoretical models and foundational neurohormonal research on animal models in support of the human work. We discuss potentially translatable models for the identification and treatment of paternal mood and father-child relational problems, which could improve infant mental health and developmental trajectories with potentially broad public health importance. PMID:25798491

  19. On Expression Patterns and Developmental Origin of Human Brain Regions

    PubMed Central

    Kirsch, Lior; Chechik, Gal

    2016-01-01

    Anatomical substructures of the human brain have characteristic cell-types, connectivity and local circuitry, which are reflected in area-specific transcriptome signatures, but the principles governing area-specific transcription and their relation to brain development are still being studied. In adult rodents, areal transcriptome patterns agree with the embryonic origin of brain regions, but the processes and genes that preserve an embryonic signature in regional expression profiles were not quantified. Furthermore, it is not clear how embryonic-origin signatures of adult-brain expression interplay with changes in expression patterns during development. Here we first quantify which genes have regional expression-patterns related to the developmental origin of brain regions, using genome-wide mRNA expression from post-mortem adult human brains. We find that almost all human genes (92%) exhibit an expression pattern that agrees with developmental brain-region ontology, but that this agreement changes at multiple phases during development. Agreement is particularly strong in neuron-specific genes, but also in genes that are not spatially correlated with neuron-specific or glia-specific markers. Surprisingly, agreement is also stronger in early-evolved genes. We further find that pairs of similar genes having high agreement to developmental region ontology tend to be more strongly correlated or anti-correlated, and that the strength of spatial correlation changes more strongly in gene pairs with stronger embryonic signatures. These results suggest that transcription regulation of most genes in the adult human brain is spatially tuned in a way that changes through life, but in agreement with development-determined brain regions. PMID:27564987

  20. BrainNet Viewer: A Network Visualization Tool for Human Brain Connectomics

    PubMed Central

    Xia, Mingrui; Wang, Jinhui; He, Yong

    2013-01-01

    The human brain is a complex system whose topological organization can be represented using connectomics. Recent studies have shown that human connectomes can be constructed using various neuroimaging technologies and further characterized using sophisticated analytic strategies, such as graph theory. These methods reveal the intriguing topological architectures of human brain networks in healthy populations and explore the changes throughout normal development and aging and under various pathological conditions. However, given the huge complexity of this methodology, toolboxes for graph-based network visualization are still lacking. Here, using MATLAB with a graphical user interface (GUI), we developed a graph-theoretical network visualization toolbox, called BrainNet Viewer, to illustrate human connectomes as ball-and-stick models. Within this toolbox, several combinations of defined files with connectome information can be loaded to display different combinations of brain surface, nodes and edges. In addition, display properties, such as the color and size of network elements or the layout of the figure, can be adjusted within a comprehensive but easy-to-use settings panel. Moreover, BrainNet Viewer draws the brain surface, nodes and edges in sequence and displays brain networks in multiple views, as required by the user. The figure can be manipulated with certain interaction functions to display more detailed information. Furthermore, the figures can be exported as commonly used image file formats or demonstration video for further use. BrainNet Viewer helps researchers to visualize brain networks in an easy, flexible and quick manner, and this software is freely available on the NITRC website (www.nitrc.org/projects/bnv/). PMID:23861951

  1. TV, Brain Waves and Human Behavior

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Science News, 1978

    1978-01-01

    Describes the procedure to test the hypothesis that subjects' brain waves in response to a television flicker (distraction) would be smaller in amplitude during television programs of high, in contrast to low, interest. Results from 12 viewers support the hypothesis. (CP)

  2. Human and rat brain lipofuscin proteome

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The accumulation of an autofluorescent pigment called lipofuscin in neurons is an invariable hallmark of brain aging. So far, this material has been considered to be waste material without particular relevance for cellular pathology. However, two lines of evidence argue that lipofuscin may have yet ...

  3. Toward discovery science of human brain function.

    PubMed

    Biswal, Bharat B; Mennes, Maarten; Zuo, Xi-Nian; Gohel, Suril; Kelly, Clare; Smith, Steve M; Beckmann, Christian F; Adelstein, Jonathan S; Buckner, Randy L; Colcombe, Stan; Dogonowski, Anne-Marie; Ernst, Monique; Fair, Damien; Hampson, Michelle; Hoptman, Matthew J; Hyde, James S; Kiviniemi, Vesa J; Kötter, Rolf; Li, Shi-Jiang; Lin, Ching-Po; Lowe, Mark J; Mackay, Clare; Madden, David J; Madsen, Kristoffer H; Margulies, Daniel S; Mayberg, Helen S; McMahon, Katie; Monk, Christopher S; Mostofsky, Stewart H; Nagel, Bonnie J; Pekar, James J; Peltier, Scott J; Petersen, Steven E; Riedl, Valentin; Rombouts, Serge A R B; Rypma, Bart; Schlaggar, Bradley L; Schmidt, Sein; Seidler, Rachael D; Siegle, Greg J; Sorg, Christian; Teng, Gao-Jun; Veijola, Juha; Villringer, Arno; Walter, Martin; Wang, Lihong; Weng, Xu-Chu; Whitfield-Gabrieli, Susan; Williamson, Peter; Windischberger, Christian; Zang, Yu-Feng; Zhang, Hong-Ying; Castellanos, F Xavier; Milham, Michael P

    2010-03-01

    Although it is being successfully implemented for exploration of the genome, discovery science has eluded the functional neuroimaging community. The core challenge remains the development of common paradigms for interrogating the myriad functional systems in the brain without the constraints of a priori hypotheses. Resting-state functional MRI (R-fMRI) constitutes a candidate approach capable of addressing this challenge. Imaging the brain during rest reveals large-amplitude spontaneous low-frequency (<0.1 Hz) fluctuations in the fMRI signal that are temporally correlated across functionally related areas. Referred to as functional connectivity, these correlations yield detailed maps of complex neural systems, collectively constituting an individual's "functional connectome." Reproducibility across datasets and individuals suggests the functional connectome has a common architecture, yet each individual's functional connectome exhibits unique features, with stable, meaningful interindividual differences in connectivity patterns and strengths. Comprehensive mapping of the functional connectome, and its subsequent exploitation to discern genetic influences and brain-behavior relationships, will require multicenter collaborative datasets. Here we initiate this endeavor by gathering R-fMRI data from 1,414 volunteers collected independently at 35 international centers. We demonstrate a universal architecture of positive and negative functional connections, as well as consistent loci of inter-individual variability. Age and sex emerged as significant determinants. These results demonstrate that independent R-fMRI datasets can be aggregated and shared. High-throughput R-fMRI can provide quantitative phenotypes for molecular genetic studies and biomarkers of developmental and pathological processes in the brain. To initiate discovery science of brain function, the 1000 Functional Connectomes Project dataset is freely accessible at www.nitrc.org/projects/fcon_1000/.

  4. Toward discovery science of human brain function.

    PubMed

    Biswal, Bharat B; Mennes, Maarten; Zuo, Xi-Nian; Gohel, Suril; Kelly, Clare; Smith, Steve M; Beckmann, Christian F; Adelstein, Jonathan S; Buckner, Randy L; Colcombe, Stan; Dogonowski, Anne-Marie; Ernst, Monique; Fair, Damien; Hampson, Michelle; Hoptman, Matthew J; Hyde, James S; Kiviniemi, Vesa J; Kötter, Rolf; Li, Shi-Jiang; Lin, Ching-Po; Lowe, Mark J; Mackay, Clare; Madden, David J; Madsen, Kristoffer H; Margulies, Daniel S; Mayberg, Helen S; McMahon, Katie; Monk, Christopher S; Mostofsky, Stewart H; Nagel, Bonnie J; Pekar, James J; Peltier, Scott J; Petersen, Steven E; Riedl, Valentin; Rombouts, Serge A R B; Rypma, Bart; Schlaggar, Bradley L; Schmidt, Sein; Seidler, Rachael D; Siegle, Greg J; Sorg, Christian; Teng, Gao-Jun; Veijola, Juha; Villringer, Arno; Walter, Martin; Wang, Lihong; Weng, Xu-Chu; Whitfield-Gabrieli, Susan; Williamson, Peter; Windischberger, Christian; Zang, Yu-Feng; Zhang, Hong-Ying; Castellanos, F Xavier; Milham, Michael P

    2010-03-01

    Although it is being successfully implemented for exploration of the genome, discovery science has eluded the functional neuroimaging community. The core challenge remains the development of common paradigms for interrogating the myriad functional systems in the brain without the constraints of a priori hypotheses. Resting-state functional MRI (R-fMRI) constitutes a candidate approach capable of addressing this challenge. Imaging the brain during rest reveals large-amplitude spontaneous low-frequency (<0.1 Hz) fluctuations in the fMRI signal that are temporally correlated across functionally related areas. Referred to as functional connectivity, these correlations yield detailed maps of complex neural systems, collectively constituting an individual's "functional connectome." Reproducibility across datasets and individuals suggests the functional connectome has a common architecture, yet each individual's functional connectome exhibits unique features, with stable, meaningful interindividual differences in connectivity patterns and strengths. Comprehensive mapping of the functional connectome, and its subsequent exploitation to discern genetic influences and brain-behavior relationships, will require multicenter collaborative datasets. Here we initiate this endeavor by gathering R-fMRI data from 1,414 volunteers collected independently at 35 international centers. We demonstrate a universal architecture of positive and negative functional connections, as well as consistent loci of inter-individual variability. Age and sex emerged as significant determinants. These results demonstrate that independent R-fMRI datasets can be aggregated and shared. High-throughput R-fMRI can provide quantitative phenotypes for molecular genetic studies and biomarkers of developmental and pathological processes in the brain. To initiate discovery science of brain function, the 1000 Functional Connectomes Project dataset is freely accessible at www.nitrc.org/projects/fcon_1000/. PMID

  5. Development of human brain structural networks through infancy and childhood.

    PubMed

    Huang, Hao; Shu, Ni; Mishra, Virendra; Jeon, Tina; Chalak, Lina; Wang, Zhiyue J; Rollins, Nancy; Gong, Gaolang; Cheng, Hua; Peng, Yun; Dong, Qi; He, Yong

    2015-05-01

    During human brain development through infancy and childhood, microstructural and macrostructural changes take place to reshape the brain's structural networks and better adapt them to sophisticated functional and cognitive requirements. However, structural topological configuration of the human brain during this specific development period is not well understood. In this study, diffusion magnetic resonance image (dMRI) of 25 neonates, 13 toddlers, and 25 preadolescents were acquired to characterize network dynamics at these 3 landmark cross-sectional ages during early childhood. dMRI tractography was used to construct human brain structural networks, and the underlying topological properties were quantified by graph-theory approaches. Modular organization and small-world attributes are evident at birth with several important topological metrics increasing monotonically during development. Most significant increases of regional nodes occur in the posterior cingulate cortex, which plays a pivotal role in the functional default mode network. Positive correlations exist between nodal efficiencies and fractional anisotropy of the white matter traced from these nodes, while correlation slopes vary among the brain regions. These results reveal substantial topological reorganization of human brain structural networks through infancy and childhood, which is likely to be the outcome of both heterogeneous strengthening of the major white matter tracts and pruning of other axonal fibers. PMID:24335033

  6. Development of human brain structural networks through infancy and childhood.

    PubMed

    Huang, Hao; Shu, Ni; Mishra, Virendra; Jeon, Tina; Chalak, Lina; Wang, Zhiyue J; Rollins, Nancy; Gong, Gaolang; Cheng, Hua; Peng, Yun; Dong, Qi; He, Yong

    2015-05-01

    During human brain development through infancy and childhood, microstructural and macrostructural changes take place to reshape the brain's structural networks and better adapt them to sophisticated functional and cognitive requirements. However, structural topological configuration of the human brain during this specific development period is not well understood. In this study, diffusion magnetic resonance image (dMRI) of 25 neonates, 13 toddlers, and 25 preadolescents were acquired to characterize network dynamics at these 3 landmark cross-sectional ages during early childhood. dMRI tractography was used to construct human brain structural networks, and the underlying topological properties were quantified by graph-theory approaches. Modular organization and small-world attributes are evident at birth with several important topological metrics increasing monotonically during development. Most significant increases of regional nodes occur in the posterior cingulate cortex, which plays a pivotal role in the functional default mode network. Positive correlations exist between nodal efficiencies and fractional anisotropy of the white matter traced from these nodes, while correlation slopes vary among the brain regions. These results reveal substantial topological reorganization of human brain structural networks through infancy and childhood, which is likely to be the outcome of both heterogeneous strengthening of the major white matter tracts and pruning of other axonal fibers.

  7. Shortcomings of the Human Brain and Remedial Action by Religion

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Reich, K. Helmut

    2010-01-01

    There is no consensus as to whether, and if so, in which regard and to what extent science and religion is needed for human survival. Here a circumscribed domain is taken up: the sovereignty and sufficiency of the human brain in this context. Several of its shortcomings are pointed out. Religion and other aspects of culture are needed for remedial…

  8. Three-dimensional morphology of the human embryonic brain.

    PubMed

    Shiraishi, N; Katayama, A; Nakashima, T; Yamada, S; Uwabe, C; Kose, K; Takakuwa, T

    2015-09-01

    The morphogenesis of the cerebral vesicles and ventricles was visualized in 3D movies using images derived from human embryo specimens between Carnegie stage 13 and 23 from the Kyoto Collection. These images were acquired with a magnetic resonance microscope equipped with a 2.35-T superconducting magnet. Three-dimensional images using the same scale demonstrated brain development and growth effectively. The non-uniform thickness of the brain tissue, which may indicate brain differentiation, was visualized with thickness-based surface color mapping. A closer view was obtained of the unique and complicated differentiation of the rhombencephalon, especially with regard to the internal view and thickening of the brain tissue. The present data contribute to a better understanding of brain and cerebral ventricle development. PMID:26217773

  9. The bilingual brain: flexibility and control in the human cortex.

    PubMed

    Buchweitz, Augusto; Prat, Chantel

    2013-12-01

    The goal of the present review is to discuss recent cognitive neuroscientific findings concerning bilingualism. Three interrelated questions about the bilingual brain are addressed: How are multiple languages represented in the brain? how are languages controlled in the brain? and what are the real-world implications of experience with multiple languages? The review is based on neuroimaging research findings about the nature of bilingual processing, namely, how the brain adapts to accommodate multiple languages in the bilingual brain and to control which language should be used, and when. We also address how this adaptation results in differences observed in the general cognition of bilingual individuals. General implications for models of human learning, plasticity, and cognitive control are discussed.

  10. The bilingual brain: Flexibility and control in the human cortex

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Buchweitz, Augusto; Prat, Chantel

    2013-12-01

    The goal of the present review is to discuss recent cognitive neuroscientific findings concerning bilingualism. Three interrelated questions about the bilingual brain are addressed: How are multiple languages represented in the brain? how are languages controlled in the brain? and what are the real-world implications of experience with multiple languages? The review is based on neuroimaging research findings about the nature of bilingual processing, namely, how the brain adapts to accommodate multiple languages in the bilingual brain and to control which language should be used, and when. We also address how this adaptation results in differences observed in the general cognition of bilingual individuals. General implications for models of human learning, plasticity, and cognitive control are discussed.

  11. Decoding Spontaneous Emotional States in the Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Kragel, Philip A.; Knodt, Annchen R.; Hariri, Ahmad R.; LaBar, Kevin S.

    2016-01-01

    Pattern classification of human brain activity provides unique insight into the neural underpinnings of diverse mental states. These multivariate tools have recently been used within the field of affective neuroscience to classify distributed patterns of brain activation evoked during emotion induction procedures. Here we assess whether neural models developed to discriminate among distinct emotion categories exhibit predictive validity in the absence of exteroceptive emotional stimulation. In two experiments, we show that spontaneous fluctuations in human resting-state brain activity can be decoded into categories of experience delineating unique emotional states that exhibit spatiotemporal coherence, covary with individual differences in mood and personality traits, and predict on-line, self-reported feelings. These findings validate objective, brain-based models of emotion and show how emotional states dynamically emerge from the activity of separable neural systems. PMID:27627738

  12. Decade of the Brain 1990--2000: Maximizing human potential

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1991-04-01

    The US Decade of the Brain offers scientists throughout the Federal Government a unique opportunity to advance and apply scientific knowledge about the brain and nervous system. During the next 10 years, scientists hope to maximize human potential through studies of human behavior, senses and communication, learning and memory, genetic/chemical alterations, and environmental interactions. Progress in these areas should lead to reductions in mortality from brain and nervous system disorders and to improvements in the quality of life. This report identifies nine research areas that could form the basis of an integrated program in the brain and behavioral sciences. A chart summarizing the Federal activities in these nine areas may be found at the back of the report. In addition, three areas that span the nine research areas -- basic research, technology and international activities -- are considered.

  13. Decoding Spontaneous Emotional States in the Human Brain.

    PubMed

    Kragel, Philip A; Knodt, Annchen R; Hariri, Ahmad R; LaBar, Kevin S

    2016-09-01

    Pattern classification of human brain activity provides unique insight into the neural underpinnings of diverse mental states. These multivariate tools have recently been used within the field of affective neuroscience to classify distributed patterns of brain activation evoked during emotion induction procedures. Here we assess whether neural models developed to discriminate among distinct emotion categories exhibit predictive validity in the absence of exteroceptive emotional stimulation. In two experiments, we show that spontaneous fluctuations in human resting-state brain activity can be decoded into categories of experience delineating unique emotional states that exhibit spatiotemporal coherence, covary with individual differences in mood and personality traits, and predict on-line, self-reported feelings. These findings validate objective, brain-based models of emotion and show how emotional states dynamically emerge from the activity of separable neural systems. PMID:27627738

  14. Lifespan maturation and degeneration of human brain white matter

    PubMed Central

    Yeatman, Jason D.; Wandell, Brian A.; Mezer, Aviv A.

    2014-01-01

    Properties of human brain tissue change across the lifespan. Here we model these changes in the living human brain by combining quantitative MRI measurements of R1 (1/T1) with diffusion MRI and tractography (N=102, ages 7–85). The amount of R1 change during development differs between white matter fascicles, but in each fascicle the rate of development and decline are mirror symmetric; the rate of R1 development as the brain approaches maturity predicts the rate of R1 degeneration in aging. Quantitative measurements of macromolecule tissue volume (MTV) confirm that R1 is an accurate index of the growth of new brain tissue. In contrast to R1, diffusion development follows an asymmetric time-course with rapid childhood changes but a slow rate of decline in old age. Together, the time-courses of R1 and diffusion changes demonstrate that multiple biological processes drive changes in white matter tissue properties over the lifespan. PMID:25230200

  15. Compact continuum brain model for human electroencephalogram

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kim, J. W.; Shin, H.-B.; Robinson, P. A.

    2007-12-01

    A low-dimensional, compact brain model has recently been developed based on physiologically based mean-field continuum formulation of electric activity of the brain. The essential feature of the new compact model is a second order time-delayed differential equation that has physiologically plausible terms, such as rapid corticocortical feedback and delayed feedback via extracortical pathways. Due to its compact form, the model facilitates insight into complex brain dynamics via standard linear and nonlinear techniques. The model successfully reproduces many features of previous models and experiments. For example, experimentally observed typical rhythms of electroencephalogram (EEG) signals are reproduced in a physiologically plausible parameter region. In the nonlinear regime, onsets of seizures, which often develop into limit cycles, are illustrated by modulating model parameters. It is also shown that a hysteresis can occur when the system has multiple attractors. As a further illustration of this approach, power spectra of the model are fitted to those of sleep EEGs of two subjects (one with apnea, the other with narcolepsy). The model parameters obtained from the fittings show good matches with previous literature. Our results suggest that the compact model can provide a theoretical basis for analyzing complex EEG signals.

  16. The effect of brain size evolution on feeding propensity, digestive efficiency, and juvenile growth.

    PubMed

    Kotrschal, Alexander; Corral-Lopez, Alberto; Szidat, Sönke; Kolm, Niclas

    2015-11-01

    One key hypothesis in the study of brain size evolution is the expensive tissue hypothesis; the idea that increased investment into the brain should be compensated by decreased investment into other costly organs, for instance the gut. Although the hypothesis is supported by both comparative and experimental evidence, little is known about the potential changes in energetic requirements or digestive traits following such evolutionary shifts in brain and gut size. Organisms may meet the greater metabolic requirements of larger brains despite smaller guts via increased food intake or better digestion. But increased investment in the brain may also hamper somatic growth. To test these hypotheses we here used guppy (Poecilia reticulata) brain size selection lines with a pronounced negative association between brain and gut size and investigated feeding propensity, digestive efficiency (DE), and juvenile growth rate. We did not find any difference in feeding propensity or DE between large- and small-brained individuals. Instead, we found that large-brained females had slower growth during the first 10 weeks after birth. Our study provides experimental support that investment into larger brains at the expense of gut tissue carries costs that are not necessarily compensated by a more efficient digestive system.

  17. The effect of brain size evolution on feeding propensity, digestive efficiency, and juvenile growth

    PubMed Central

    Kotrschal, Alexander; Corral‐Lopez, Alberto; Szidat, Sönke; Kolm, Niclas

    2015-01-01

    One key hypothesis in the study of brain size evolution is the expensive tissue hypothesis; the idea that increased investment into the brain should be compensated by decreased investment into other costly organs, for instance the gut. Although the hypothesis is supported by both comparative and experimental evidence, little is known about the potential changes in energetic requirements or digestive traits following such evolutionary shifts in brain and gut size. Organisms may meet the greater metabolic requirements of larger brains despite smaller guts via increased food intake or better digestion. But increased investment in the brain may also hamper somatic growth. To test these hypotheses we here used guppy (Poecilia reticulata) brain size selection lines with a pronounced negative association between brain and gut size and investigated feeding propensity, digestive efficiency (DE), and juvenile growth rate. We did not find any difference in feeding propensity or DE between large‐ and small‐brained individuals. Instead, we found that large‐brained females had slower growth during the first 10 weeks after birth. Our study provides experimental support that investment into larger brains at the expense of gut tissue carries costs that are not necessarily compensated by a more efficient digestive system. PMID:26420573

  18. The effect of brain size evolution on feeding propensity, digestive efficiency, and juvenile growth.

    PubMed

    Kotrschal, Alexander; Corral-Lopez, Alberto; Szidat, Sönke; Kolm, Niclas

    2015-11-01

    One key hypothesis in the study of brain size evolution is the expensive tissue hypothesis; the idea that increased investment into the brain should be compensated by decreased investment into other costly organs, for instance the gut. Although the hypothesis is supported by both comparative and experimental evidence, little is known about the potential changes in energetic requirements or digestive traits following such evolutionary shifts in brain and gut size. Organisms may meet the greater metabolic requirements of larger brains despite smaller guts via increased food intake or better digestion. But increased investment in the brain may also hamper somatic growth. To test these hypotheses we here used guppy (Poecilia reticulata) brain size selection lines with a pronounced negative association between brain and gut size and investigated feeding propensity, digestive efficiency (DE), and juvenile growth rate. We did not find any difference in feeding propensity or DE between large- and small-brained individuals. Instead, we found that large-brained females had slower growth during the first 10 weeks after birth. Our study provides experimental support that investment into larger brains at the expense of gut tissue carries costs that are not necessarily compensated by a more efficient digestive system. PMID:26420573

  19. Brain Activation During Singing: "Clef de Sol Activation" Is the "Concert" of the Human Brain.

    PubMed

    Mavridis, Ioannis N; Pyrgelis, Efstratios-Stylianos

    2016-03-01

    Humans are the most complex singers in nature, and the human voice is thought by many to be the most beautiful musical instrument. Aside from spoken language, singing represents a second mode of acoustic communication in humans. The purpose of this review article is to explore the functional anatomy of the "singing" brain. Methodologically, the existing literature regarding activation of the human brain during singing was carefully reviewed, with emphasis on the anatomic localization of such activation. Relevant human studies are mainly neuroimaging studies, namely functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography studies. Singing necessitates activation of several cortical, subcortical, cerebellar, and brainstem areas, served and coordinated by multiple neural networks. Functionally vital cortical areas of the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes bilaterally participate in the brain's activation process during singing, confirming the latter's role in human communication. Perisylvian cortical activity of the right hemisphere seems to be the most crucial component of this activation. This also explains why aphasic patients due to left hemispheric lesions are able to sing but not speak the same words. The term clef de sol activation is proposed for this crucial perisylvian cortical activation due to the clef de sol shape of the topographical distribution of these cortical areas around the sylvian fissure. Further research is needed to explore the connectivity and sequence of how the human brain activates to sing.

  20. Brain Activation During Singing: "Clef de Sol Activation" Is the "Concert" of the Human Brain.

    PubMed

    Mavridis, Ioannis N; Pyrgelis, Efstratios-Stylianos

    2016-03-01

    Humans are the most complex singers in nature, and the human voice is thought by many to be the most beautiful musical instrument. Aside from spoken language, singing represents a second mode of acoustic communication in humans. The purpose of this review article is to explore the functional anatomy of the "singing" brain. Methodologically, the existing literature regarding activation of the human brain during singing was carefully reviewed, with emphasis on the anatomic localization of such activation. Relevant human studies are mainly neuroimaging studies, namely functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography studies. Singing necessitates activation of several cortical, subcortical, cerebellar, and brainstem areas, served and coordinated by multiple neural networks. Functionally vital cortical areas of the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes bilaterally participate in the brain's activation process during singing, confirming the latter's role in human communication. Perisylvian cortical activity of the right hemisphere seems to be the most crucial component of this activation. This also explains why aphasic patients due to left hemispheric lesions are able to sing but not speak the same words. The term clef de sol activation is proposed for this crucial perisylvian cortical activation due to the clef de sol shape of the topographical distribution of these cortical areas around the sylvian fissure. Further research is needed to explore the connectivity and sequence of how the human brain activates to sing. PMID:26966964

  1. Can we observe epigenetic effects on human brain function?

    PubMed

    Nikolova, Yuliya S; Hariri, Ahmad R

    2015-07-01

    Imaging genetics has identified many contributions of DNA sequence variation to individual differences in brain function, behavior, and risk for psychopathology. Recent studies have extended this work beyond the genome by mapping epigenetic differences, specifically gene methylation in peripherally assessed DNA, onto variability in behaviorally and clinically relevant brain function. These data have generated understandable enthusiasm for the potential of such research to illuminate biological mechanisms of risk. We use our research on the effects of genetic and epigenetic variation in the human serotonin transporter on brain function to generate a guardedly optimistic opinion that the available data encourage continued research in this direction, and suggest strategies to promote faster progress.

  2. Accepting, understanding, teaching, and learning (human) evolution: Obstacles and opportunities.

    PubMed

    Pobiner, Briana

    2016-01-01

    Questions about our origin as a species are universal and compelling. Evolution-and in particular human evolution-is a subject that generates intense interest across the world, evidenced by the fact that fossil and DNA discoveries grace the covers of major science journals and magazines as well as other popular print and online media. However, virtually all national polls indicate that the majority of Americans strongly reject biological evolution as a fact-based, well-tested, and robust understanding of the history of life. In the popular mind, no topic in all of science is more contentious or polarizing than evolution and media sources often only serve to magnify this polarization by covering challenges to the teaching of evolution. In the realm of teaching, debates about evolution have shaped textbooks, curricula, standards, and policy. Challenges to accepting and understanding evolution include mistrust and denial of science, cognitive obstacles and misconceptions, language and terminology, and a religious worldview, among others. Teachers, who are on the front lines of these challenges, must be armed with the tools and techniques to teach evolution in formal education settings across grades K-16 in a straightforward, thorough, and sensitive way. Despite the potentially controversial topic of human evolution, growing research is demonstrating that a pedagogical focus on human examples is an effective and engaging way to teach core concepts of evolutionary biology.

  3. Accepting, understanding, teaching, and learning (human) evolution: Obstacles and opportunities.

    PubMed

    Pobiner, Briana

    2016-01-01

    Questions about our origin as a species are universal and compelling. Evolution-and in particular human evolution-is a subject that generates intense interest across the world, evidenced by the fact that fossil and DNA discoveries grace the covers of major science journals and magazines as well as other popular print and online media. However, virtually all national polls indicate that the majority of Americans strongly reject biological evolution as a fact-based, well-tested, and robust understanding of the history of life. In the popular mind, no topic in all of science is more contentious or polarizing than evolution and media sources often only serve to magnify this polarization by covering challenges to the teaching of evolution. In the realm of teaching, debates about evolution have shaped textbooks, curricula, standards, and policy. Challenges to accepting and understanding evolution include mistrust and denial of science, cognitive obstacles and misconceptions, language and terminology, and a religious worldview, among others. Teachers, who are on the front lines of these challenges, must be armed with the tools and techniques to teach evolution in formal education settings across grades K-16 in a straightforward, thorough, and sensitive way. Despite the potentially controversial topic of human evolution, growing research is demonstrating that a pedagogical focus on human examples is an effective and engaging way to teach core concepts of evolutionary biology. PMID:26808108

  4. Brain Evolution: The Origins of Social and Cognitive Behaviors.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    MacLean, Paul

    1983-01-01

    Argues that common anatomical and functional characteristics exist among the brains of reptiles, mammals, and man--the most significant commonality for educators being social behavior. Illustrates inherited behavior, including behavior observed in classroom and believed to be learned by placing it in context of a model "triune" (reptilian,…

  5. How Does Evolution Design a Brain Capable of Learning Language?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Savage-Rumbaugh, E. Sue

    1993-01-01

    Discusses methods of assessing language comprehension in apes. Considers the possible effect of brain physiology on the differences between productive and receptive language skills. Examines the possibility that differences between synaptic transmission and volume transmission, or transmission across extracellular spaces, of neurological impulses…

  6. Measuring and Understanding Public Opinion on Human Evolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Gwon, Misook

    2012-01-01

    The theory of evolution has long generated controversy in American society, but Americans' attitudes about human evolution are often neglected in studies of "culture wars" and the nature of mass belief systems more generally (Berkman and Plutzer 2010; Freeland and Houston 2009). Gallup and other survey organizations have polled…

  7. Immunohistochemical localization of oxytocin receptors in human brain.

    PubMed

    Boccia, M L; Petrusz, P; Suzuki, K; Marson, L; Pedersen, C A

    2013-12-01

    The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) regulates rodent, primate and human social behaviors and stress responses. OT binding studies employing (125)I-d(CH2)5-[Tyr(Me)2,Thr4,Tyr-NH2(9)] ornithine vasotocin ((125)I-OTA), has been used to locate and quantify OT receptors (OTRs) in numerous areas of the rat brain. This ligand has also been applied to locating OTRs in the human brain. The results of the latter studies, however, have been brought into question because of subsequent evidence that (125)I-OTA is much less selective for OTR vs. vasopressin receptors in the primate brain. Previously we used a monoclonal antibody directed toward a region of the human OTR to demonstrate selective immunostaining of cell bodies and fibers in the preoptic-anterior hypothalamic area and ventral septum of a cynomolgus monkey (Boccia et al., 2001). The present study employed the same monoclonal antibody to study the location of OTRs in tissue blocks containing cortical, limbic and brainstem areas dissected from fixed adult, human female brains. OTRs were visualized in discrete cell bodies and/or fibers in the central and basolateral regions of the amygdala, medial preoptic area (MPOA), anterior and ventromedial hypothalamus, olfactory nucleus, vertical limb of the diagonal band, ventrolateral septum, anterior cingulate and hypoglossal and solitary nuclei. OTR staining was not observed in the hippocampus (including CA2 and CA3), parietal cortex, raphe nucleus, nucleus ambiguus or pons. These results suggest that there are some similarities, but also important differences, in the locations of OTRs in human and rodent brains. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) utilizing a monoclonal antibody provides specific localization of OTRs in the human brain and thereby provides opportunity to further study OTR in human development and psychiatric conditions.

  8. Brains, innovations, tools and cultural transmission in birds, non-human primates, and fossil hominins

    PubMed Central

    Lefebvre, Louis

    2013-01-01

    Recent work on birds and non-human primates has shown that taxonomic differences in field measures of innovation, tool use and social learning are associated with size of the mammalian cortex and avian mesopallium and nidopallium, as well as ecological traits like colonization success. Here, I review this literature and suggest that many of its findings are relevant to hominin intelligence. In particular, our large brains and increased intelligence may be partly independent of our ape phylogeny and the result of convergent processes similar to those that have molded avian and platyrrhine intelligence. Tool use, innovativeness and cultural transmission might be linked over our past and in our brains as operations of domain-general intelligence. Finally, colonization of new areas may have accompanied increases in both brain size and innovativeness in hominins as they have in other mammals and in birds, potentially accelerating hominin evolution via behavioral drive. PMID:23761751

  9. Cell lineage analysis in human brain using endogenous retroelements.

    PubMed

    Evrony, Gilad D; Lee, Eunjung; Mehta, Bhaven K; Benjamini, Yuval; Johnson, Robert M; Cai, Xuyu; Yang, Lixing; Haseley, Psalm; Lehmann, Hillel S; Park, Peter J; Walsh, Christopher A

    2015-01-01

    Somatic mutations occur during brain development and are increasingly implicated as a cause of neurogenetic disease. However, the patterns in which somatic mutations distribute in the human brain are unknown. We used high-coverage whole-genome sequencing of single neurons from a normal individual to identify spontaneous somatic mutations as clonal marks to track cell lineages in human brain. Somatic mutation analyses in >30 locations throughout the nervous system identified multiple lineages and sublineages of cells marked by different LINE-1 (L1) retrotransposition events and subsequent mutation of poly-A microsatellites within L1. One clone contained thousands of cells limited to the left middle frontal gyrus, whereas a second distinct clone contained millions of cells distributed over the entire left hemisphere. These patterns mirror known somatic mutation disorders of brain development and suggest that focally distributed mutations are also prevalent in normal brains. Single-cell analysis of somatic mutation enables tracing of cell lineage clones in human brain.

  10. A navigational guidance system in the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Spiers, Hugo J.; Maguire, Eleanor A.

    2008-01-01

    Finding your way in large-scale space requires knowing where you currently are and how to get to your goal destination. While much is understood about the neural basis of one’s current position during navigation, surprisingly little is known about how the human brain guides navigation to goals. Computational accounts argue that specific brain regions support navigational guidance by coding the proximity and direction to the goal, but empirical evidence for such mechanisms is lacking. Here, we scanned subjects with functional MRI (fMRI) as they navigated to goal destinations in a highly accurate virtual simulation of a real city. Brain activity was then analysed in combination with metric measures of proximity and direction to goal destinations which were derived from each individual subject’s coordinates at every second of navigation. We found that activity in the medial prefrontal cortex was positively correlated, and activity in a right subicular/entorhinal region was negatively correlated with goal proximity. By contrast, activity in bilateral posterior parietal cortex was correlated with egocentric direction to goals. Our results provide empirical evidence for a navigational guidance system in the human brain, and define more precisely the contribution of these three brain regions to human navigation. In addition, these findings may also have wider implications for how the brain monitors and integrates different types of information in the service of goal-directed behaviour in general. PMID:17492693

  11. Several methods to determine heavy metals in the human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Andrási, Erzsébet; Igaz, Sarolta; Szoboszlai, Norbert; Farkas, Éva; Ajtony, Zsolt

    1999-05-01

    The determination of naturally occurring heavy metals in various parts of the human brain is discussed. The patients had no diseases in their central nervous systems (five individuals, mean age 70 years). Twenty brain parts were selected from both hemispheres. The analysis was carried out by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry, inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry and instrumental neutron activation analysis methods. Accuracy and precision of the applied techniques were tested by using standard reference materials. Two digestion methods were used to dissolve the brain samples for ICP-AES and GF-AAS. One was performed in a Parr-bomb and the second in a microwave oven. The present results show a non-homogeneous distribution of the essential elements (Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn) in normal human brain. Corresponding regions in both hemispheres showed an almost identical concentration of these elements. In the case of toxic elements (Pb, Cd) an average value in different brain regions can not be established because of the high variability of individual data. This study indicates that beside differences in Pb and Cd intake with foods or cigarette smoke inhalation, the main factors of the high inter-individual variability of these element concentrations in human brain parts may be a marked difference in individual elimination or accumulation capabilities.

  12. A quantitative transcriptome reference map of the normal human brain.

    PubMed

    Caracausi, Maria; Vitale, Lorenza; Pelleri, Maria Chiara; Piovesan, Allison; Bruno, Samantha; Strippoli, Pierluigi

    2014-10-01

    We performed an innovative systematic meta-analysis of 60 gene expression profiles of whole normal human brain, to provide a quantitative transcriptome reference map of it, i.e. a reference typical value of expression for each of the 39,250 known, mapped and 26,026 uncharacterized (unmapped) transcripts. To this aim, we used the software named Transcriptome Mapper (TRAM), which is able to generate transcriptome maps based on gene expression data from multiple sources. We also analyzed differential expression by comparing the brain transcriptome with those derived from human foetal brain gene expression, from a pool of human tissues (except the brain) and from the two normal human brain regions cerebellum and cerebral cortex, which are two of the main regions severely affected when cognitive impairment occurs, as happens in the case of trisomy 21. Data were downloaded from microarray databases, processed and analyzed using TRAM software and validated in vitro by assaying gene expression through several magnitude orders by 'real-time' reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The excellent agreement between in silico and experimental data suggested that our transcriptome maps may be a useful quantitative reference benchmark for gene expression studies related to the human brain. Furthermore, our analysis yielded biological insights about those genes which have an intrinsic over-/under-expression in the brain, in addition offering a basis for the regional analysis of gene expression. This could be useful for the study of chromosomal alterations associated to cognitive impairment, such as trisomy 21, the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability. PMID:25185649

  13. A quantitative transcriptome reference map of the normal human brain.

    PubMed

    Caracausi, Maria; Vitale, Lorenza; Pelleri, Maria Chiara; Piovesan, Allison; Bruno, Samantha; Strippoli, Pierluigi

    2014-10-01

    We performed an innovative systematic meta-analysis of 60 gene expression profiles of whole normal human brain, to provide a quantitative transcriptome reference map of it, i.e. a reference typical value of expression for each of the 39,250 known, mapped and 26,026 uncharacterized (unmapped) transcripts. To this aim, we used the software named Transcriptome Mapper (TRAM), which is able to generate transcriptome maps based on gene expression data from multiple sources. We also analyzed differential expression by comparing the brain transcriptome with those derived from human foetal brain gene expression, from a pool of human tissues (except the brain) and from the two normal human brain regions cerebellum and cerebral cortex, which are two of the main regions severely affected when cognitive impairment occurs, as happens in the case of trisomy 21. Data were downloaded from microarray databases, processed and analyzed using TRAM software and validated in vitro by assaying gene expression through several magnitude orders by 'real-time' reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The excellent agreement between in silico and experimental data suggested that our transcriptome maps may be a useful quantitative reference benchmark for gene expression studies related to the human brain. Furthermore, our analysis yielded biological insights about those genes which have an intrinsic over-/under-expression in the brain, in addition offering a basis for the regional analysis of gene expression. This could be useful for the study of chromosomal alterations associated to cognitive impairment, such as trisomy 21, the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability.

  14. The evolution of human and ape hand proportions.

    PubMed

    Almécija, Sergio; Smaers, Jeroen B; Jungers, William L

    2015-01-01

    Human hands are distinguished from apes by possessing longer thumbs relative to fingers. However, this simple ape-human dichotomy fails to provide an adequate framework for testing competing hypotheses of human evolution and for reconstructing the morphology of the last common ancestor (LCA) of humans and chimpanzees. We inspect human and ape hand-length proportions using phylogenetically informed morphometric analyses and test alternative models of evolution along the anthropoid tree of life, including fossils like the plesiomorphic ape Proconsul heseloni and the hominins Ardipithecus ramidus and Australopithecus sediba. Our results reveal high levels of hand disparity among modern hominoids, which are explained by different evolutionary processes: autapomorphic evolution in hylobatids (extreme digital and thumb elongation), convergent adaptation between chimpanzees and orangutans (digital elongation) and comparatively little change in gorillas and hominins. The human (and australopith) high thumb-to-digits ratio required little change since the LCA, and was acquired convergently with other highly dexterous anthropoids.

  15. The evolution of human and ape hand proportions

    PubMed Central

    Almécija, Sergio; Smaers, Jeroen B.; Jungers, William L.

    2015-01-01

    Human hands are distinguished from apes by possessing longer thumbs relative to fingers. However, this simple ape-human dichotomy fails to provide an adequate framework for testing competing hypotheses of human evolution and for reconstructing the morphology of the last common ancestor (LCA) of humans and chimpanzees. We inspect human and ape hand-length proportions using phylogenetically informed morphometric analyses and test alternative models of evolution along the anthropoid tree of life, including fossils like the plesiomorphic ape Proconsul heseloni and the hominins Ardipithecus ramidus and Australopithecus sediba. Our results reveal high levels of hand disparity among modern hominoids, which are explained by different evolutionary processes: autapomorphic evolution in hylobatids (extreme digital and thumb elongation), convergent adaptation between chimpanzees and orangutans (digital elongation) and comparatively little change in gorillas and hominins. The human (and australopith) high thumb-to-digits ratio required little change since the LCA, and was acquired convergently with other highly dexterous anthropoids. PMID:26171589

  16. Notch receptor expression in human brain arteriovenous malformations.

    PubMed

    Hill-Felberg, Sandra; Wu, Hope Hueizhi; Toms, Steven A; Dehdashti, Amir R

    2015-08-01

    The roles of the Notch pathway proteins in normal adult vascular physiology and the pathogenesis of brain arteriovenous malformations are not well-understood. Notch 1 and 4 have been detected in human and mutant mice vascular malformations respectively. Although mutations in the human Notch 3 gene caused a genetic form of vascular stroke and dementia, its role in arteriovenous malformations development has been unknown. In this study, we performed immunohistochemistry screening on tissue microarrays containing eight surgically resected human brain arteriovenous malformations and 10 control surgical epilepsy samples. The tissue microarrays were evaluated for Notch 1-4 expression. We have found that compared to normal brain vascular tissue Notch-3 was dramatically increased in brain arteriovenous malformations. Similarly, Notch 4 labelling was also increased in vascular malformations and was confirmed by western blot analysis. Notch 2 was not detectable in any of the human vessels analysed. Using both immunohistochemistry on microarrays and western blot analysis, we have found that Notch-1 expression was detectable in control vessels, and discovered a significant decrease of Notch 1 expression in vascular malformations. We have demonstrated that Notch 3 and 4, and not Notch 1, were highly increased in human arteriovenous malformations. Our findings suggested that Notch 4, and more importantly, Notch 3, may play a role in the development and pathobiology of human arteriovenous malformations.

  17. Expansion of Multipotent Stem Cells from the Adult Human Brain

    PubMed Central

    Murrell, Wayne; Palmero, Emily; Bianco, John; Stangeland, Biljana; Joel, Mrinal; Paulson, Linda; Thiede, Bernd; Grieg, Zanina; Ramsnes, Ingunn; Skjellegrind, Håvard K.; Nygård, Ståle; Brandal, Petter; Sandberg, Cecilie; Vik-Mo, Einar; Palmero, Sheryl; Langmoen, Iver A.

    2013-01-01

    The discovery of stem cells in the adult human brain has revealed new possible scenarios for treatment of the sick or injured brain. Both clinical use of and preclinical research on human adult neural stem cells have, however, been seriously hampered by the fact that it has been impossible to passage these cells more than a very few times and with little expansion of cell numbers. Having explored a number of alternative culturing conditions we here present an efficient method for the establishment and propagation of human brain stem cells from whatever brain tissue samples we have tried. We describe virtually unlimited expansion of an authentic stem cell phenotype. Pluripotency proteins Sox2 and Oct4 are expressed without artificial induction. For the first time multipotency of adult human brain-derived stem cells is demonstrated beyond tissue boundaries. We characterize these cells in detail in vitro including microarray and proteomic approaches. Whilst clarification of these cells’ behavior is ongoing, results so far portend well for the future repair of tissues by transplantation of an adult patient’s own-derived stem cells. PMID:23967194

  18. Telomerase Activity is Downregulated Early During Human Brain Development

    PubMed Central

    Ishaq, Abbas; Hanson, Peter S.; Morris, Christopher M.; Saretzki, Gabriele

    2016-01-01

    Changes in hTERT splice variant expression have been proposed to facilitate the decrease of telomerase activity during fetal development in various human tissues. Here, we analyzed the expression of telomerase RNA (hTR), wild type and α-spliced hTERT in developing human fetal brain (post conception weeks, pcw, 6–19) and in young and old cortices using qPCR and correlated it to telomerase activity measured by TRAP assay. Decrease of telomerase activity occurred early during brain development and correlated strongest to decreased hTR expression. The expression of α-spliced hTERT increased between pcw 10 and 19, while that of wild type hTERT remained unchanged. Lack of expression differences between young and old cortices suggests that most changes seem to occur early during human brain development. Using in vitro differentiation of neural precursor stem cells (NPSCs) derived at pcw 6 we found a decrease in telomerase activity but no major expression changes in telomerase associated genes. Thus, they do not seem to model the mechanisms for the decrease in telomerase activity in fetal brains. Our results suggest that decreased hTR levels, as well as transient increase in α-spliced hTERT, might both contribute to downregulation of telomerase activity during early human brain development between 6 and 17 pcw. PMID:27322326

  19. Glucose transporter of the human brain and blood-brain barrier

    SciTech Connect

    Kalaria, R.N.; Gravina, S.A.; Schmidley, J.W.; Perry, G.; Harik, S.I.

    1988-12-01

    We identified and characterized the glucose transporter in the human cerebral cortex, cerebral microvessels, and choroid plexus by specific D-glucose-displaceable (3H)cytochalasin B binding. The binding was saturable, with a dissociation constant less than 1 microM. Maximal binding capacity was approximately 7 pmol/mg protein in the cerebral cortex, approximately 42 pmol/mg protein in brain microvessels, and approximately 27 pmol/mg protein in the choroid plexus. Several hexoses displaced specific (3H)cytochalasin B binding to microvessels in a rank-order that correlated well with their known ability to cross the blood-brain barrier; the only exception was 2-deoxy-D-glucose, which had much higher affinity for the glucose transporter than the natural substrate, D-glucose. Irreversible photoaffinity labeling of the glucose transporter of microvessels with (3H)cytochalasin B, followed by solubilization and polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, labeled a protein band with an average molecular weight of approximately 55,000. Monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies specific to the human erythrocyte glucose transporter immunocytochemically stained brain blood vessels and the few trapped erythrocytes in situ, with minimal staining of the neuropil. In the choroid plexus, blood vessels did not stain, but the epithelium reacted positively. We conclude that human brain microvessels are richly endowed with a glucose transport moiety similar in molecular weight and antigenic characteristics to that of human erythrocytes and brain microvessels of other mammalian species.

  20. Measuring dopamine release in the human brain with PET

    SciTech Connect

    Volkow, N.D. |; Fowler, J.S.; Logan, J.; Wang, G.J.

    1995-12-01

    The dopamine system is involved in the regulation of brain regions that subserve motor, cognitive and motivational behaviors. Disruptions of dopamine (DA) function have ben implicated in neurological and psychiatric illnesses including substance abuse as well as on some of the deficits associated with aging of the human brain. This has made the DA system an important topic in research in the neurosciences and neuroimaging as well as an important molecular target for drug development. Positron Emission Tomography (PET), was the first technology that enabled direct measurement of components of the DA system in the living human brain. Imaging studies of DA in the living brain have been indirect, relying on the development of radiotracers to label DA receptors, DA transporters, compounds which have specificity for the enzymes which degrade synaptic DA. Additionally, through the use of tracers that provide information on regional brain activity (ie brain glucose metabolism and cerebral blood flow) and of appropriate pharmacological interventions, it has been possible to assess the functional consequences of changes in brain DA activity. DA specific ligands have been useful in the evaluation of patients with neuropsychiatric illnesses as well as to investigate receptor blockade by antipsychotic drugs. A limitation of strategies that rely on the use of DA specific ligands is that the measures do not necessarily reflect the functional state of the dopaminergic system and that there use to study the effects of drugs is limited to the investigation of receptor or transporter occupancy. Newer strategies have been developed in an attempt to provide with information on dopamine release and on the functional responsivity of the DA system in the human brain. This in turn allows to investigate the effects of pharmacological agent in an analogous way to what is done with microdialysis techniques.

  1. Brain evolution, the determinates of food choice, and the omnivore's dilemma.

    PubMed

    Armelagos, George J

    2014-01-01

    A coevolutionary paradigm using a biocultural perspective can help to unravel the complex interactions that led to the contemporary pattern of eating. Evolutionary history helps to understand the adaptation of diet and its nutritional implications. Anatomical and behavioral changes linked to changing dietary patterns in the Paleolithic resulted in an adaptive framework that affects modern diet. The evolution of an expanding brain, a shrinking large intestine, and lengthening small intestine necessitated a demand for nutritionally dense foods. The key to these changes is an understanding of the response to the omnivore's dilemma. Omnivores in their search for new items to feed their varied diet (neophilia) have a challenge when they fear (neophobia) novel items that may be poisonous and can cause death. The inborn mechanism initiates palate fatigue (sensory-specific satiety) ensuring a variety of foods will be eaten. Variety will limit the impact of toxins ingested and provide a more balanced diet. The development of cuisine, a momentous event in history, mediated the conflict, and changed the course of human evolution. The cuisine, a biocultural construct, defines which items found in nature are edible, how these products are transformed into food, the flavors used to add a sensory dimension to foods, and rules of eating or etiquette. Etiquette defines how, when, and with whom we eat. Patterns of eating in the modern setting are the end product of the way that Homo sapiens evolved and resolved the omnivore's dilemma. Control of fire and cooking expanded the range of available foods by creating a class of foods that are "predigested." An essential element to the evolution of the human diet was the transition to agriculture as the primary mode of subsistence. The Neolithic revolution dramatically narrowed the dietary niche by decreasing the variety of available foods, with the shift to intensive agriculture creating a dramatic decline in human nutrition. The recent

  2. Brain evolution, the determinates of food choice, and the omnivore's dilemma.

    PubMed

    Armelagos, George J

    2014-01-01

    A coevolutionary paradigm using a biocultural perspective can help to unravel the complex interactions that led to the contemporary pattern of eating. Evolutionary history helps to understand the adaptation of diet and its nutritional implications. Anatomical and behavioral changes linked to changing dietary patterns in the Paleolithic resulted in an adaptive framework that affects modern diet. The evolution of an expanding brain, a shrinking large intestine, and lengthening small intestine necessitated a demand for nutritionally dense foods. The key to these changes is an understanding of the response to the omnivore's dilemma. Omnivores in their search for new items to feed their varied diet (neophilia) have a challenge when they fear (neophobia) novel items that may be poisonous and can cause death. The inborn mechanism initiates palate fatigue (sensory-specific satiety) ensuring a variety of foods will be eaten. Variety will limit the impact of toxins ingested and provide a more balanced diet. The development of cuisine, a momentous event in history, mediated the conflict, and changed the course of human evolution. The cuisine, a biocultural construct, defines which items found in nature are edible, how these products are transformed into food, the flavors used to add a sensory dimension to foods, and rules of eating or etiquette. Etiquette defines how, when, and with whom we eat. Patterns of eating in the modern setting are the end product of the way that Homo sapiens evolved and resolved the omnivore's dilemma. Control of fire and cooking expanded the range of available foods by creating a class of foods that are "predigested." An essential element to the evolution of the human diet was the transition to agriculture as the primary mode of subsistence. The Neolithic revolution dramatically narrowed the dietary niche by decreasing the variety of available foods, with the shift to intensive agriculture creating a dramatic decline in human nutrition. The recent

  3. Simplified detection system for neuroreceptor studies in the human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Bice, A.N.; Wagner, H.N. Jr.; Frost, J.J.; Natarajan, T.K.; Lee, M.C.; Wong, D.F.; Dannals, R.F.; Ravert, H.T.; Wilson, A.A.; Links, J.M.

    1986-02-01

    A simple, inexpensive dual-detector system has been developed for measurement of positronemitting receptor-binding drugs in the human brain. This high efficiency coincidence counting system requires that only a few hundred microcuries of labeled drug be administered to the subject, thereby allowing for multiple studies without an excessive radiation dose. Measurement of the binding of (11C)carfentanil, a high affinity synthetic opiate, to opiate receptors in the presence and in the absence of a competitive opiate antagonist indicates the potential utility of this system for estimating different degrees of receptor occupation in the human brain.

  4. Mu opioid receptor binding sites in human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Pilapil, C.; Welner, S.; Magnan, J.; Zamir, N.; Quirion, R.

    1986-01-01

    Our experiments focused on the examination of the distribution of mu opioid receptor binding sites in normal human brain using the highly selective ligand (/sup 3/H)DAGO, in both membrane binding assay and in vitro receptor autoradiography. Mu opioid binding sites are very discretely distributed in human brain with high densities of sites found in the posterior amygdala, caudate, putamen, hypothalamus and certain cortical areas. Moreover the autoradiographic distribution of (/sup 3/H)DAGO binding sites clearly reveals the discrete lamination (layers I and III-IV) of mu sites in cortical areas.

  5. PET evaluation of the dopamine system of the human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Volkow, N.D.; Fowler, J.S.; Gatley, S. |

    1996-07-01

    Dopamine plays a pivotal role in the regulation and control of movement, motivation and cognition. It also is closely linked to reward, reinforcement and addiction. Abnormalities in brain dopamine are associated with many neurological and psychiatric disorders including Parkinson`s disease, schizophrenia and substance abuse. This close association between dopamine and neurological and psychiatric diseases and with substance abuse make it an important topic in research in the neurosciences and an important molecular target in drug development. PET enables the direct measurement of components of the dopamine system in the living human brain. It relies on radiotracers which label dopamine receptors, dopamine transporters, precursors of dopamine or compounds which have specificity for the enzymes which degrade dopamine. Additionally, by using tracers that provide information on regional brain metabolism or blood flow as well as neurochemically specific pharmacological interventions, PET can be used to assess the functional consequences of change in brain dopamine activity. PET dopamine measurements have been used to investigate the normal human brain and its involvement in psychiatric and neurological diseases. It has also been used in psychopharmacological research to investigate dopamine drugs used in the treatment of Parkinson`s disease and of schizophrenia as well as to investigate the effects of drugs of abuse on the dopamine system. Since various functional and neurochemical parameters can be studied in the same subject, PET enables investigation of the functional integrity of the dopamine system in the human brain and investigation of the interactions of dopamine with other neurotransmitters. This paper summarizes the different tracers and experimental strategies developed to evaluate the various elements of the dopamine system in the human brain with PET and their applications to clinical research. 254 refs., 7 figs., 3 tabs.

  6. Transcriptional profiles of supragranular-enriched genes associate with corticocortical network architecture in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Krienen, Fenna M; Yeo, B T Thomas; Ge, Tian; Buckner, Randy L; Sherwood, Chet C

    2016-01-26

    The human brain is patterned with disproportionately large, distributed cerebral networks that connect multiple association zones in the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes. The expansion of the cortical surface, along with the emergence of long-range connectivity networks, may be reflected in changes to the underlying molecular architecture. Using the Allen Institute's human brain transcriptional atlas, we demonstrate that genes particularly enriched in supragranular layers of the human cerebral cortex relative to mouse distinguish major cortical classes. The topography of transcriptional expression reflects large-scale brain network organization consistent with estimates from functional connectivity MRI and anatomical tracing in nonhuman primates. Microarray expression data for genes preferentially expressed in human upper layers (II/III), but enriched only in lower layers (V/VI) of mouse, were cross-correlated to identify molecular profiles across the cerebral cortex of postmortem human brains (n = 6). Unimodal sensory and motor zones have similar molecular profiles, despite being distributed across the cortical mantle. Sensory/motor profiles were anticorrelated with paralimbic and certain distributed association network profiles. Tests of alternative gene sets did not consistently distinguish sensory and motor regions from paralimbic and association regions: (i) genes enriched in supragranular layers in both humans and mice, (ii) genes cortically enriched in humans relative to nonhuman primates, (iii) genes related to connectivity in rodents, (iv) genes associated with human and mouse connectivity, and (v) 1,454 gene sets curated from known gene ontologies. Molecular innovations of upper cortical layers may be an important component in the evolution of long-range corticocortical projections.

  7. Transcriptional profiles of supragranular-enriched genes associate with corticocortical network architecture in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Krienen, Fenna M; Yeo, B T Thomas; Ge, Tian; Buckner, Randy L; Sherwood, Chet C

    2016-01-26

    The human brain is patterned with disproportionately large, distributed cerebral networks that connect multiple association zones in the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes. The expansion of the cortical surface, along with the emergence of long-range connectivity networks, may be reflected in changes to the underlying molecular architecture. Using the Allen Institute's human brain transcriptional atlas, we demonstrate that genes particularly enriched in supragranular layers of the human cerebral cortex relative to mouse distinguish major cortical classes. The topography of transcriptional expression reflects large-scale brain network organization consistent with estimates from functional connectivity MRI and anatomical tracing in nonhuman primates. Microarray expression data for genes preferentially expressed in human upper layers (II/III), but enriched only in lower layers (V/VI) of mouse, were cross-correlated to identify molecular profiles across the cerebral cortex of postmortem human brains (n = 6). Unimodal sensory and motor zones have similar molecular profiles, despite being distributed across the cortical mantle. Sensory/motor profiles were anticorrelated with paralimbic and certain distributed association network profiles. Tests of alternative gene sets did not consistently distinguish sensory and motor regions from paralimbic and association regions: (i) genes enriched in supragranular layers in both humans and mice, (ii) genes cortically enriched in humans relative to nonhuman primates, (iii) genes related to connectivity in rodents, (iv) genes associated with human and mouse connectivity, and (v) 1,454 gene sets curated from known gene ontologies. Molecular innovations of upper cortical layers may be an important component in the evolution of long-range corticocortical projections. PMID:26739559

  8. Transcriptional profiles of supragranular-enriched genes associate with corticocortical network architecture in the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Krienen, Fenna M.; Yeo, B. T. Thomas; Ge, Tian; Buckner, Randy L.; Sherwood, Chet C.

    2016-01-01

    The human brain is patterned with disproportionately large, distributed cerebral networks that connect multiple association zones in the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes. The expansion of the cortical surface, along with the emergence of long-range connectivity networks, may be reflected in changes to the underlying molecular architecture. Using the Allen Institute’s human brain transcriptional atlas, we demonstrate that genes particularly enriched in supragranular layers of the human cerebral cortex relative to mouse distinguish major cortical classes. The topography of transcriptional expression reflects large-scale brain network organization consistent with estimates from functional connectivity MRI and anatomical tracing in nonhuman primates. Microarray expression data for genes preferentially expressed in human upper layers (II/III), but enriched only in lower layers (V/VI) of mouse, were cross-correlated to identify molecular profiles across the cerebral cortex of postmortem human brains (n = 6). Unimodal sensory and motor zones have similar molecular profiles, despite being distributed across the cortical mantle. Sensory/motor profiles were anticorrelated with paralimbic and certain distributed association network profiles. Tests of alternative gene sets did not consistently distinguish sensory and motor regions from paralimbic and association regions: (i) genes enriched in supragranular layers in both humans and mice, (ii) genes cortically enriched in humans relative to nonhuman primates, (iii) genes related to connectivity in rodents, (iv) genes associated with human and mouse connectivity, and (v) 1,454 gene sets curated from known gene ontologies. Molecular innovations of upper cortical layers may be an important component in the evolution of long-range corticocortical projections. PMID:26739559

  9. Voice processing in monkey and human brains.

    PubMed

    Scott, Sophie K

    2008-09-01

    Studies in humans have indicated that the anterior superior temporal sulcus has an important role in the processing of information about human voices, especially the identification of talkers from their voice. A new study using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with macaques provides strong evidence that anterior auditory fields, part of the auditory 'what' pathway, preferentially respond to changes in the identity of conspecifics, rather than specific vocalizations from the same individual. PMID:18684663

  10. Plasticity of brain wave network interactions and evolution across physiologic states.

    PubMed

    Liu, Kang K L; Bartsch, Ronny P; Lin, Aijing; Mantegna, Rosario N; Ivanov, Plamen Ch

    2015-01-01

    Neural plasticity transcends a range of spatio-temporal scales and serves as the basis of various brain activities and physiologic functions. At the microscopic level, it enables the emergence of brain waves with complex temporal dynamics. At the macroscopic level, presence and dominance of specific brain waves is associated with important brain functions. The role of neural plasticity at different levels in generating distinct brain rhythms and how brain rhythms communicate with each other across brain areas to generate physiologic states and functions remains not understood. Here we perform an empirical exploration of neural plasticity at the level of brain wave network interactions representing dynamical communications within and between different brain areas in the frequency domain. We introduce the concept of time delay stability (TDS) to quantify coordinated bursts in the activity of brain waves, and we employ a system-wide Network Physiology integrative approach to probe the network of coordinated brain wave activations and its evolution across physiologic states. We find an association between network structure and physiologic states. We uncover a hierarchical reorganization in the brain wave networks in response to changes in physiologic state, indicating new aspects of neural plasticity at the integrated level. Globally, we find that the entire brain network undergoes a pronounced transition from low connectivity in Deep Sleep and REM to high connectivity in Light Sleep and Wake. In contrast, we find that locally, different brain areas exhibit different network dynamics of brain wave interactions to achieve differentiation in function during different sleep stages. Moreover, our analyses indicate that plasticity also emerges in frequency-specific networks, which represent interactions across brain locations mediated through a specific frequency band. Comparing frequency-specific networks within the same physiologic state we find very different degree of

  11. Plasticity of brain wave network interactions and evolution across physiologic states.

    PubMed

    Liu, Kang K L; Bartsch, Ronny P; Lin, Aijing; Mantegna, Rosario N; Ivanov, Plamen Ch

    2015-01-01

    Neural plasticity transcends a range of spatio-temporal scales and serves as the basis of various brain activities and physiologic functions. At the microscopic level, it enables the emergence of brain waves with complex temporal dynamics. At the macroscopic level, presence and dominance of specific brain waves is associated with important brain functions. The role of neural plasticity at different levels in generating distinct brain rhythms and how brain rhythms communicate with each other across brain areas to generate physiologic states and functions remains not understood. Here we perform an empirical exploration of neural plasticity at the level of brain wave network interactions representing dynamical communications within and between different brain areas in the frequency domain. We introduce the concept of time delay stability (TDS) to quantify coordinated bursts in the activity of brain waves, and we employ a system-wide Network Physiology integrative approach to probe the network of coordinated brain wave activations and its evolution across physiologic states. We find an association between network structure and physiologic states. We uncover a hierarchical reorganization in the brain wave networks in response to changes in physiologic state, indicating new aspects of neural plasticity at the integrated level. Globally, we find that the entire brain network undergoes a pronounced transition from low connectivity in Deep Sleep and REM to high connectivity in Light Sleep and Wake. In contrast, we find that locally, different brain areas exhibit different network dynamics of brain wave interactions to achieve differentiation in function during different sleep stages. Moreover, our analyses indicate that plasticity also emerges in frequency-specific networks, which represent interactions across brain locations mediated through a specific frequency band. Comparing frequency-specific networks within the same physiologic state we find very different degree of

  12. Plasticity of brain wave network interactions and evolution across physiologic states

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Kang K. L.; Bartsch, Ronny P.; Lin, Aijing; Mantegna, Rosario N.; Ivanov, Plamen Ch.

    2015-01-01

    Neural plasticity transcends a range of spatio-temporal scales and serves as the basis of various brain activities and physiologic functions. At the microscopic level, it enables the emergence of brain waves with complex temporal dynamics. At the macroscopic level, presence and dominance of specific brain waves is associated with important brain functions. The role of neural plasticity at different levels in generating distinct brain rhythms and how brain rhythms communicate with each other across brain areas to generate physiologic states and functions remains not understood. Here we perform an empirical exploration of neural plasticity at the level of brain wave network interactions representing dynamical communications within and between different brain areas in the frequency domain. We introduce the concept of time delay stability (TDS) to quantify coordinated bursts in the activity of brain waves, and we employ a system-wide Network Physiology integrative approach to probe the network of coordinated brain wave activations and its evolution across physiologic states. We find an association between network structure and physiologic states. We uncover a hierarchical reorganization in the brain wave networks in response to changes in physiologic state, indicating new aspects of neural plasticity at the integrated level. Globally, we find that the entire brain network undergoes a pronounced transition from low connectivity in Deep Sleep and REM to high connectivity in Light Sleep and Wake. In contrast, we find that locally, different brain areas exhibit different network dynamics of brain wave interactions to achieve differentiation in function during different sleep stages. Moreover, our analyses indicate that plasticity also emerges in frequency-specific networks, which represent interactions across brain locations mediated through a specific frequency band. Comparing frequency-specific networks within the same physiologic state we find very different degree of

  13. Common genetic variants influence human subcortical brain structures.

    PubMed

    Hibar, Derrek P; Stein, Jason L; Renteria, Miguel E; Arias-Vasquez, Alejandro; Desrivières, Sylvane; Jahanshad, Neda; Toro, Roberto; Wittfeld, Katharina; Abramovic, Lucija; Andersson, Micael; Aribisala, Benjamin S; Armstrong, Nicola J; Bernard, Manon; Bohlken, Marc M; Boks, Marco P; Bralten, Janita; Brown, Andrew A; Chakravarty, M Mallar; Chen, Qiang; Ching, Christopher R K; Cuellar-Partida, Gabriel; den Braber, Anouk; Giddaluru, Sudheer; Goldman, Aaron L; Grimm, Oliver; Guadalupe, Tulio; Hass, Johanna; Woldehawariat, Girma; Holmes, Avram J; Hoogman, Martine; Janowitz, Deborah; Jia, Tianye; Kim, Sungeun; Klein, Marieke; Kraemer, Bernd; Lee, Phil H; Olde Loohuis, Loes M; Luciano, Michelle; Macare, Christine; Mather, Karen A; Mattheisen, Manuel; Milaneschi, Yuri; Nho, Kwangsik; Papmeyer, Martina; Ramasamy, Adaikalavan; Risacher, Shannon L; Roiz-Santiañez, Roberto; Rose, Emma J; Salami, Alireza; Sämann, Philipp G; Schmaal, Lianne; Schork, Andrew J; Shin, Jean; Strike, Lachlan T; Teumer, Alexander; van Donkelaar, Marjolein M J; van Eijk, Kristel R; Walters, Raymond K; Westlye, Lars T; Whelan, Christopher D; Winkler, Anderson M; Zwiers, Marcel P; Alhusaini, Saud; Athanasiu, Lavinia; Ehrlich, Stefan; Hakobjan, Marina M H; Hartberg, Cecilie B; Haukvik, Unn K; Heister, Angelien J G A M; Hoehn, David; Kasperaviciute, Dalia; Liewald, David C M; Lopez, Lorna M; Makkinje, Remco R R; Matarin, Mar; Naber, Marlies A M; McKay, D Reese; Needham, Margaret; Nugent, Allison C; Pütz, Benno; Royle, Natalie A; Shen, Li; Sprooten, Emma; Trabzuni, Daniah; van der Marel, Saskia S L; van Hulzen, Kimm J E; Walton, Esther; Wolf, Christiane; Almasy, Laura; Ames, David; Arepalli, Sampath; Assareh, Amelia A; Bastin, Mark E; Brodaty, Henry; Bulayeva, Kazima B; Carless, Melanie A; Cichon, Sven; Corvin, Aiden; Curran, Joanne E; Czisch, Michael; de Zubicaray, Greig I; Dillman, Allissa; Duggirala, Ravi; Dyer, Thomas D; Erk, Susanne; Fedko, Iryna O; Ferrucci, Luigi; Foroud, Tatiana M; Fox, Peter T; Fukunaga, Masaki; Gibbs, J Raphael; Göring, Harald H H; Green, Robert C; Guelfi, Sebastian; Hansell, Narelle K; Hartman, Catharina A; Hegenscheid, Katrin; Heinz, Andreas; Hernandez, Dena G; Heslenfeld, Dirk J; Hoekstra, Pieter J; Holsboer, Florian; Homuth, Georg; Hottenga, Jouke-Jan; Ikeda, Masashi; Jack, Clifford R; Jenkinson, Mark; Johnson, Robert; Kanai, Ryota; Keil, Maria; Kent, Jack W; Kochunov, Peter; Kwok, John B; Lawrie, Stephen M; Liu, Xinmin; Longo, Dan L; McMahon, Katie L; Meisenzahl, Eva; Melle, Ingrid; Mohnke, Sebastian; Montgomery, Grant W; Mostert, Jeanette C; Mühleisen, Thomas W; Nalls, Michael A; Nichols, Thomas E; Nilsson, Lars G; Nöthen, Markus M; Ohi, Kazutaka; Olvera, Rene L; Perez-Iglesias, Rocio; Pike, G Bruce; Potkin, Steven G; Reinvang, Ivar; Reppermund, Simone; Rietschel, Marcella; Romanczuk-Seiferth, Nina; Rosen, Glenn D; Rujescu, Dan; Schnell, Knut; Schofield, Peter R; Smith, Colin; Steen, Vidar M; Sussmann, Jessika E; Thalamuthu, Anbupalam; Toga, Arthur W; Traynor, Bryan J; Troncoso, Juan; Turner, Jessica A; Valdés Hernández, Maria C; van 't Ent, Dennis; van der Brug, Marcel; van der Wee, Nic J A; van Tol, Marie-Jose; Veltman, Dick J; Wassink, Thomas H; Westman, Eric; Zielke, Ronald H; Zonderman, Alan B; Ashbrook, David G; Hager, Reinmar; Lu, Lu; McMahon, Francis J; Morris, Derek W; Williams, Robert W; Brunner, Han G; Buckner, Randy L; Buitelaar, Jan K; Cahn, Wiepke; Calhoun, Vince D; Cavalleri, Gianpiero L; Crespo-Facorro, Benedicto; Dale, Anders M; Davies, Gareth E; Delanty, Norman; Depondt, Chantal; Djurovic, Srdjan; Drevets, Wayne C; Espeseth, Thomas; Gollub, Randy L; Ho, Beng-Choon; Hoffmann, Wolfgang; Hosten, Norbert; Kahn, René S; Le Hellard, Stephanie; Meyer-Lindenberg, Andreas; Müller-Myhsok, Bertram; Nauck, Matthias; Nyberg, Lars; Pandolfo, Massimo; Penninx, Brenda W J H; Roffman, Joshua L; Sisodiya, Sanjay M; Smoller, Jordan W; van Bokhoven, Hans; van Haren, Neeltje E M; Völzke, Henry; Walter, Henrik; Weiner, Michael W; Wen, Wei; White, Tonya; Agartz, Ingrid; Andreassen, Ole A; Blangero, John; Boomsma, Dorret I; Brouwer, Rachel M; Cannon, Dara M; Cookson, Mark R; de Geus, Eco J C; Deary, Ian J; Donohoe, Gary; Fernández, Guillén; Fisher, Simon E; Francks, Clyde; Glahn, David C; Grabe, Hans J; Gruber, Oliver; Hardy, John; Hashimoto, Ryota; Hulshoff Pol, Hilleke E; Jönsson, Erik G; Kloszewska, Iwona; Lovestone, Simon; Mattay, Venkata S; Mecocci, Patrizia; McDonald, Colm; McIntosh, Andrew M; Ophoff, Roel A; Paus, Tomas; Pausova, Zdenka; Ryten, Mina; Sachdev, Perminder S; Saykin, Andrew J; Simmons, Andy; Singleton, Andrew; Soininen, Hilkka; Wardlaw, Joanna M; Weale, Michael E; Weinberger, Daniel R; Adams, Hieab H H; Launer, Lenore J; Seiler, Stephan; Schmidt, Reinhold; Chauhan, Ganesh; Satizabal, Claudia L; Becker, James T; Yanek, Lisa; van der Lee, Sven J; Ebling, Maritza; Fischl, Bruce; Longstreth, W T; Greve, Douglas; Schmidt, Helena; Nyquist, Paul; Vinke, Louis N; van Duijn, Cornelia M; Xue, Luting; Mazoyer, Bernard; Bis, Joshua C; Gudnason, Vilmundur; Seshadri, Sudha; Ikram, M Arfan; Martin, Nicholas G; Wright, Margaret J; Schumann, Gunter; Franke, Barbara; Thompson, Paul M; Medland, Sarah E

    2015-04-01

    The highly complex structure of the human brain is strongly shaped by genetic influences. Subcortical brain regions form circuits with cortical areas to coordinate movement, learning, memory and motivation, and altered circuits can lead to abnormal behaviour and disease. To investigate how common genetic variants affect the structure of these brain regions, here we conduct genome-wide association studies of the volumes of seven subcortical regions and the intracranial volume derived from magnetic resonance images of 30,717 individuals from 50 cohorts. We identify five novel genetic variants influencing the volumes of the putamen and caudate nucleus. We also find stronger evidence for three loci with previously established influences on hippocampal volume and intracranial volume. These variants show specific volumetric effects on brain structures rather than global effects across structures. The strongest effects were found for the putamen, where a novel intergenic locus with replicable influence on volume (rs945270; P = 1.08 × 10(-33); 0.52% variance explained) showed evidence of altering the expression of the KTN1 gene in both brain and blood tissue. Variants influencing putamen volume clustered near developmental genes that regulate apoptosis, axon guidance and vesicle transport. Identification of these genetic variants provides insight into the causes of variability in human brain development, and may help to determine mechanisms of neuropsychiatric dysfunction.

  14. Common genetic variants influence human subcortical brain structures.

    PubMed

    Hibar, Derrek P; Stein, Jason L; Renteria, Miguel E; Arias-Vasquez, Alejandro; Desrivières, Sylvane; Jahanshad, Neda; Toro, Roberto; Wittfeld, Katharina; Abramovic, Lucija; Andersson, Micael; Aribisala, Benjamin S; Armstrong, Nicola J; Bernard, Manon; Bohlken, Marc M; Boks, Marco P; Bralten, Janita; Brown, Andrew A; Chakravarty, M Mallar; Chen, Qiang; Ching, Christopher R K; Cuellar-Partida, Gabriel; den Braber, Anouk; Giddaluru, Sudheer; Goldman, Aaron L; Grimm, Oliver; Guadalupe, Tulio; Hass, Johanna; Woldehawariat, Girma; Holmes, Avram J; Hoogman, Martine; Janowitz, Deborah; Jia, Tianye; Kim, Sungeun; Klein, Marieke; Kraemer, Bernd; Lee, Phil H; Olde Loohuis, Loes M; Luciano, Michelle; Macare, Christine; Mather, Karen A; Mattheisen, Manuel; Milaneschi, Yuri; Nho, Kwangsik; Papmeyer, Martina; Ramasamy, Adaikalavan; Risacher, Shannon L; Roiz-Santiañez, Roberto; Rose, Emma J; Salami, Alireza; Sämann, Philipp G; Schmaal, Lianne; Schork, Andrew J; Shin, Jean; Strike, Lachlan T; Teumer, Alexander; van Donkelaar, Marjolein M J; van Eijk, Kristel R; Walters, Raymond K; Westlye, Lars T; Whelan, Christopher D; Winkler, Anderson M; Zwiers, Marcel P; Alhusaini, Saud; Athanasiu, Lavinia; Ehrlich, Stefan; Hakobjan, Marina M H; Hartberg, Cecilie B; Haukvik, Unn K; Heister, Angelien J G A M; Hoehn, David; Kasperaviciute, Dalia; Liewald, David C M; Lopez, Lorna M; Makkinje, Remco R R; Matarin, Mar; Naber, Marlies A M; McKay, D Reese; Needham, Margaret; Nugent, Allison C; Pütz, Benno; Royle, Natalie A; Shen, Li; Sprooten, Emma; Trabzuni, Daniah; van der Marel, Saskia S L; van Hulzen, Kimm J E; Walton, Esther; Wolf, Christiane; Almasy, Laura; Ames, David; Arepalli, Sampath; Assareh, Amelia A; Bastin, Mark E; Brodaty, Henry; Bulayeva, Kazima B; Carless, Melanie A; Cichon, Sven; Corvin, Aiden; Curran, Joanne E; Czisch, Michael; de Zubicaray, Greig I; Dillman, Allissa; Duggirala, Ravi; Dyer, Thomas D; Erk, Susanne; Fedko, Iryna O; Ferrucci, Luigi; Foroud, Tatiana M; Fox, Peter T; Fukunaga, Masaki; Gibbs, J Raphael; Göring, Harald H H; Green, Robert C; Guelfi, Sebastian; Hansell, Narelle K; Hartman, Catharina A; Hegenscheid, Katrin; Heinz, Andreas; Hernandez, Dena G; Heslenfeld, Dirk J; Hoekstra, Pieter J; Holsboer, Florian; Homuth, Georg; Hottenga, Jouke-Jan; Ikeda, Masashi; Jack, Clifford R; Jenkinson, Mark; Johnson, Robert; Kanai, Ryota; Keil, Maria; Kent, Jack W; Kochunov, Peter; Kwok, John B; Lawrie, Stephen M; Liu, Xinmin; Longo, Dan L; McMahon, Katie L; Meisenzahl, Eva; Melle, Ingrid; Mohnke, Sebastian; Montgomery, Grant W; Mostert, Jeanette C; Mühleisen, Thomas W; Nalls, Michael A; Nichols, Thomas E; Nilsson, Lars G; Nöthen, Markus M; Ohi, Kazutaka; Olvera, Rene L; Perez-Iglesias, Rocio; Pike, G Bruce; Potkin, Steven G; Reinvang, Ivar; Reppermund, Simone; Rietschel, Marcella; Romanczuk-Seiferth, Nina; Rosen, Glenn D; Rujescu, Dan; Schnell, Knut; Schofield, Peter R; Smith, Colin; Steen, Vidar M; Sussmann, Jessika E; Thalamuthu, Anbupalam; Toga, Arthur W; Traynor, Bryan J; Troncoso, Juan; Turner, Jessica A; Valdés Hernández, Maria C; van 't Ent, Dennis; van der Brug, Marcel; van der Wee, Nic J A; van Tol, Marie-Jose; Veltman, Dick J; Wassink, Thomas H; Westman, Eric; Zielke, Ronald H; Zonderman, Alan B; Ashbrook, David G; Hager, Reinmar; Lu, Lu; McMahon, Francis J; Morris, Derek W; Williams, Robert W; Brunner, Han G; Buckner, Randy L; Buitelaar, Jan K; Cahn, Wiepke; Calhoun, Vince D; Cavalleri, Gianpiero L; Crespo-Facorro, Benedicto; Dale, Anders M; Davies, Gareth E; Delanty, Norman; Depondt, Chantal; Djurovic, Srdjan; Drevets, Wayne C; Espeseth, Thomas; Gollub, Randy L; Ho, Beng-Choon; Hoffmann, Wolfgang; Hosten, Norbert; Kahn, René S; Le Hellard, Stephanie; Meyer-Lindenberg, Andreas; Müller-Myhsok, Bertram; Nauck, Matthias; Nyberg, Lars; Pandolfo, Massimo; Penninx, Brenda W J H; Roffman, Joshua L; Sisodiya, Sanjay M; Smoller, Jordan W; van Bokhoven, Hans; van Haren, Neeltje E M; Völzke, Henry; Walter, Henrik; Weiner, Michael W; Wen, Wei; White, Tonya; Agartz, Ingrid; Andreassen, Ole A; Blangero, John; Boomsma, Dorret I; Brouwer, Rachel M; Cannon, Dara M; Cookson, Mark R; de Geus, Eco J C; Deary, Ian J; Donohoe, Gary; Fernández, Guillén; Fisher, Simon E; Francks, Clyde; Glahn, David C; Grabe, Hans J; Gruber, Oliver; Hardy, John; Hashimoto, Ryota; Hulshoff Pol, Hilleke E; Jönsson, Erik G; Kloszewska, Iwona; Lovestone, Simon; Mattay, Venkata S; Mecocci, Patrizia; McDonald, Colm; McIntosh, Andrew M; Ophoff, Roel A; Paus, Tomas; Pausova, Zdenka; Ryten, Mina; Sachdev, Perminder S; Saykin, Andrew J; Simmons, Andy; Singleton, Andrew; Soininen, Hilkka; Wardlaw, Joanna M; Weale, Michael E; Weinberger, Daniel R; Adams, Hieab H H; Launer, Lenore J; Seiler, Stephan; Schmidt, Reinhold; Chauhan, Ganesh; Satizabal, Claudia L; Becker, James T; Yanek, Lisa; van der Lee, Sven J; Ebling, Maritza; Fischl, Bruce; Longstreth, W T; Greve, Douglas; Schmidt, Helena; Nyquist, Paul; Vinke, Louis N; van Duijn, Cornelia M; Xue, Luting; Mazoyer, Bernard; Bis, Joshua C; Gudnason, Vilmundur; Seshadri, Sudha; Ikram, M Arfan; Martin, Nicholas G; Wright, Margaret J; Schumann, Gunter; Franke, Barbara; Thompson, Paul M; Medland, Sarah E

    2015-04-01

    The highly complex structure of the human brain is strongly shaped by genetic influences. Subcortical brain regions form circuits with cortical areas to coordinate movement, learning, memory and motivation, and altered circuits can lead to abnormal behaviour and disease. To investigate how common genetic variants affect the structure of these brain regions, here we conduct genome-wide association studies of the volumes of seven subcortical regions and the intracranial volume derived from magnetic resonance images of 30,717 individuals from 50 cohorts. We identify five novel genetic variants influencing the volumes of the putamen and caudate nucleus. We also find stronger evidence for three loci with previously established influences on hippocampal volume and intracranial volume. These variants show specific volumetric effects on brain structures rather than global effects across structures. The strongest effects were found for the putamen, where a novel intergenic locus with replicable influence on volume (rs945270; P = 1.08 × 10(-33); 0.52% variance explained) showed evidence of altering the expression of the KTN1 gene in both brain and blood tissue. Variants influencing putamen volume clustered near developmental genes that regulate apoptosis, axon guidance and vesicle transport. Identification of these genetic variants provides insight into the causes of variability in human brain development, and may help to determine mechanisms of neuropsychiatric dysfunction. PMID:25607358

  15. Comprehensive cellular‐resolution atlas of the adult human brain

    PubMed Central

    Royall, Joshua J.; Sunkin, Susan M.; Ng, Lydia; Facer, Benjamin A.C.; Lesnar, Phil; Guillozet‐Bongaarts, Angie; McMurray, Bergen; Szafer, Aaron; Dolbeare, Tim A.; Stevens, Allison; Tirrell, Lee; Benner, Thomas; Caldejon, Shiella; Dalley, Rachel A.; Dee, Nick; Lau, Christopher; Nyhus, Julie; Reding, Melissa; Riley, Zackery L.; Sandman, David; Shen, Elaine; van der Kouwe, Andre; Varjabedian, Ani; Write, Michelle; Zollei, Lilla; Dang, Chinh; Knowles, James A.; Koch, Christof; Phillips, John W.; Sestan, Nenad; Wohnoutka, Paul; Zielke, H. Ronald; Hohmann, John G.; Jones, Allan R.; Bernard, Amy; Hawrylycz, Michael J.; Hof, Patrick R.; Fischl, Bruce

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT Detailed anatomical understanding of the human brain is essential for unraveling its functional architecture, yet current reference atlases have major limitations such as lack of whole‐brain coverage, relatively low image resolution, and sparse structural annotation. We present the first digital human brain atlas to incorporate neuroimaging, high‐resolution histology, and chemoarchitecture across a complete adult female brain, consisting of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), diffusion‐weighted imaging (DWI), and 1,356 large‐format cellular resolution (1 µm/pixel) Nissl and immunohistochemistry anatomical plates. The atlas is comprehensively annotated for 862 structures, including 117 white matter tracts and several novel cyto‐ and chemoarchitecturally defined structures, and these annotations were transferred onto the matching MRI dataset. Neocortical delineations were done for sulci, gyri, and modified Brodmann areas to link macroscopic anatomical and microscopic cytoarchitectural parcellations. Correlated neuroimaging and histological structural delineation allowed fine feature identification in MRI data and subsequent structural identification in MRI data from other brains. This interactive online digital atlas is integrated with existing Allen Institute for Brain Science gene expression atlases and is publicly accessible as a resource for the neuroscience community. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:3127–3481, 2016. © 2016 The Authors The Journal of Comparative Neurology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27418273

  16. Human brain functional MRI and DTI visualization with virtual reality.

    PubMed

    Chen, Bin; Moreland, John; Zhang, Jingyu

    2011-12-01

    Magnetic resonance diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and functional MRI (fMRI) are two active research areas in neuroimaging. DTI is sensitive to the anisotropic diffusion of water exerted by its macromolecular environment and has been shown useful in characterizing structures of ordered tissues such as the brain white matter, myocardium, and cartilage. The diffusion tensor provides two new types of information of water diffusion: the magnitude and the spatial orientation of water diffusivity inside the tissue. This information has been used for white matter fiber tracking to review physical neuronal pathways inside the brain. Functional MRI measures brain activations using the hemodynamic response. The statistically derived activation map corresponds to human brain functional activities caused by neuronal activities. The combination of these two methods provides a new way to understand human brain from the anatomical neuronal fiber connectivity to functional activities between different brain regions. In this study, virtual reality (VR) based MR DTI and fMRI visualization with high resolution anatomical image segmentation and registration, ROI definition and neuronal white matter fiber tractography visualization and fMRI activation map integration is proposed. Rationale and methods for producing and distributing stereoscopic videos are also discussed. PMID:23256049

  17. Comprehensive cellular-resolution atlas of the adult human brain.

    PubMed

    Ding, Song-Lin; Royall, Joshua J; Sunkin, Susan M; Ng, Lydia; Facer, Benjamin A C; Lesnar, Phil; Guillozet-Bongaarts, Angie; McMurray, Bergen; Szafer, Aaron; Dolbeare, Tim A; Stevens, Allison; Tirrell, Lee; Benner, Thomas; Caldejon, Shiella; Dalley, Rachel A; Dee, Nick; Lau, Christopher; Nyhus, Julie; Reding, Melissa; Riley, Zackery L; Sandman, David; Shen, Elaine; van der Kouwe, Andre; Varjabedian, Ani; Write, Michelle; Zollei, Lilla; Dang, Chinh; Knowles, James A; Koch, Christof; Phillips, John W; Sestan, Nenad; Wohnoutka, Paul; Zielke, H Ronald; Hohmann, John G; Jones, Allan R; Bernard, Amy; Hawrylycz, Michael J; Hof, Patrick R; Fischl, Bruce; Lein, Ed S

    2016-11-01

    Detailed anatomical understanding of the human brain is essential for unraveling its functional architecture, yet current reference atlases have major limitations such as lack of whole-brain coverage, relatively low image resolution, and sparse structural annotation. We present the first digital human brain atlas to incorporate neuroimaging, high-resolution histology, and chemoarchitecture across a complete adult female brain, consisting of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), and 1,356 large-format cellular resolution (1 µm/pixel) Nissl and immunohistochemistry anatomical plates. The atlas is comprehensively annotated for 862 structures, including 117 white matter tracts and several novel cyto- and chemoarchitecturally defined structures, and these annotations were transferred onto the matching MRI dataset. Neocortical delineations were done for sulci, gyri, and modified Brodmann areas to link macroscopic anatomical and microscopic cytoarchitectural parcellations. Correlated neuroimaging and histological structural delineation allowed fine feature identification in MRI data and subsequent structural identification in MRI data from other brains. This interactive online digital atlas is integrated with existing Allen Institute for Brain Science gene expression atlases and is publicly accessible as a resource for the neuroscience community. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:3127-3481, 2016. © 2016 The Authors The Journal of Comparative Neurology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27418273

  18. Comprehensive cellular-resolution atlas of the adult human brain.

    PubMed

    Ding, Song-Lin; Royall, Joshua J; Sunkin, Susan M; Ng, Lydia; Facer, Benjamin A C; Lesnar, Phil; Guillozet-Bongaarts, Angie; McMurray, Bergen; Szafer, Aaron; Dolbeare, Tim A; Stevens, Allison; Tirrell, Lee; Benner, Thomas; Caldejon, Shiella; Dalley, Rachel A; Dee, Nick; Lau, Christopher; Nyhus, Julie; Reding, Melissa; Riley, Zackery L; Sandman, David; Shen, Elaine; van der Kouwe, Andre; Varjabedian, Ani; Write, Michelle; Zollei, Lilla; Dang, Chinh; Knowles, James A; Koch, Christof; Phillips, John W; Sestan, Nenad; Wohnoutka, Paul; Zielke, H Ronald; Hohmann, John G; Jones, Allan R; Bernard, Amy; Hawrylycz, Michael J; Hof, Patrick R; Fischl, Bruce; Lein, Ed S

    2016-11-01

    Detailed anatomical understanding of the human brain is essential for unraveling its functional architecture, yet current reference atlases have major limitations such as lack of whole-brain coverage, relatively low image resolution, and sparse structural annotation. We present the first digital human brain atlas to incorporate neuroimaging, high-resolution histology, and chemoarchitecture across a complete adult female brain, consisting of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), and 1,356 large-format cellular resolution (1 µm/pixel) Nissl and immunohistochemistry anatomical plates. The atlas is comprehensively annotated for 862 structures, including 117 white matter tracts and several novel cyto- and chemoarchitecturally defined structures, and these annotations were transferred onto the matching MRI dataset. Neocortical delineations were done for sulci, gyri, and modified Brodmann areas to link macroscopic anatomical and microscopic cytoarchitectural parcellations. Correlated neuroimaging and histological structural delineation allowed fine feature identification in MRI data and subsequent structural identification in MRI data from other brains. This interactive online digital atlas is integrated with existing Allen Institute for Brain Science gene expression atlases and is publicly accessible as a resource for the neuroscience community. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:3127-3481, 2016. © 2016 The Authors The Journal of Comparative Neurology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  19. Cerebral organoids model human brain development and microcephaly.

    PubMed

    Lancaster, Madeline A; Renner, Magdalena; Martin, Carol-Anne; Wenzel, Daniel; Bicknell, Louise S; Hurles, Matthew E; Homfray, Tessa; Penninger, Josef M; Jackson, Andrew P; Knoblich, Juergen A

    2013-09-19

    The complexity of the human brain has made it difficult to study many brain disorders in model organisms, highlighting the need for an in vitro model of human brain development. Here we have developed a human pluripotent stem cell-derived three-dimensional organoid culture system, termed cerebral organoids, that develop various discrete, although interdependent, brain regions. These include a cerebral cortex containing progenitor populations that organize and produce mature cortical neuron subtypes. Furthermore, cerebral organoids are shown to recapitulate features of human cortical development, namely characteristic progenitor zone organization with abundant outer radial glial stem cells. Finally, we use RNA interference and patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells to model microcephaly, a disorder that has been difficult to recapitulate in mice. We demonstrate premature neuronal differentiation in patient organoids, a defect that could help to explain the disease phenotype. Together, these data show that three-dimensional organoids can recapitulate development and disease even in this most complex human tissue. PMID:23995685

  20. The modular and integrative functional architecture of the human brain.

    PubMed

    Bertolero, Maxwell A; Yeo, B T Thomas; D'Esposito, Mark

    2015-12-01

    Network-based analyses of brain imaging data consistently reveal distinct modules and connector nodes with diverse global connectivity across the modules. How discrete the functions of modules are, how dependent the computational load of each module is to the other modules' processing, and what the precise role of connector nodes is for between-module communication remains underspecified. Here, we use a network model of the brain derived from resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) data and investigate the modular functional architecture of the human brain by analyzing activity at different types of nodes in the network across 9,208 experiments of 77 cognitive tasks in the BrainMap database. Using an author-topic model of cognitive functions, we find a strong spatial correspondence between the cognitive functions and the network's modules, suggesting that each module performs a discrete cognitive function. Crucially, activity at local nodes within the modules does not increase in tasks that require more cognitive functions, demonstrating the autonomy of modules' functions. However, connector nodes do exhibit increased activity when more cognitive functions are engaged in a task. Moreover, connector nodes are located where brain activity is associated with many different cognitive functions. Connector nodes potentially play a role in between-module communication that maintains the modular function of the brain. Together, these findings provide a network account of the brain's modular yet integrated implementation of cognitive functions.

  1. The modular and integrative functional architecture of the human brain.

    PubMed

    Bertolero, Maxwell A; Yeo, B T Thomas; D'Esposito, Mark

    2015-12-01

    Network-based analyses of brain imaging data consistently reveal distinct modules and connector nodes with diverse global connectivity across the modules. How discrete the functions of modules are, how dependent the computational load of each module is to the other modules' processing, and what the precise role of connector nodes is for between-module communication remains underspecified. Here, we use a network model of the brain derived from resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) data and investigate the modular functional architecture of the human brain by analyzing activity at different types of nodes in the network across 9,208 experiments of 77 cognitive tasks in the BrainMap database. Using an author-topic model of cognitive functions, we find a strong spatial correspondence between the cognitive functions and the network's modules, suggesting that each module performs a discrete cognitive function. Crucially, activity at local nodes within the modules does not increase in tasks that require more cognitive functions, demonstrating the autonomy of modules' functions. However, connector nodes do exhibit increased activity when more cognitive functions are engaged in a task. Moreover, connector nodes are located where brain activity is associated with many different cognitive functions. Connector nodes potentially play a role in between-module communication that maintains the modular function of the brain. Together, these findings provide a network account of the brain's modular yet integrated implementation of cognitive functions. PMID:26598686

  2. Addiction circuitry in the human brain (*).

    SciTech Connect

    Volkow, N.D.; Wang, G.; Volkow, N.D.; Wang, G.-J.; Fowler, J.S.; Tomasi, D.

    2011-09-27

    A major challenge in understanding substance-use disorders lies in uncovering why some individuals become addicted when exposed to drugs, whereas others do not. Although genetic, developmental, and environmental factors are recognized as major contributors to a person's risk of becoming addicted, the neurobiological processes that underlie this vulnerability are still poorly understood. Imaging studies suggest that individual variations in key dopamine-modulated brain circuits, including circuits involved in reward, memory, executive function, and motivation, contribute to some of the differences in addiction vulnerability. A better understanding of the main circuits affected by chronic drug use and the influence of social stressors, developmental trajectories, and genetic background on these circuits is bound to lead to a better understanding of addiction and to more effective strategies for the prevention and treatment of substance-use disorders.

  3. ``the Human BRAIN & Fractal quantum mechanics''

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rosary-Oyong, Se, Glory

    In mtDNA ever retrieved from Iman Tuassoly, et.al:Multifractal analysis of chaos game representation images of mtDNA''.Enhances the price & valuetales of HE. Prof. Dr-Ing. B.J. HABIBIE's N-219, in J. Bacteriology, Nov 1973 sought:'' 219 exist as separate plasmidDNA species in E.coli & Salmonella panama'' related to ``the brain 2 distinct molecular forms of the (Na,K)-ATPase..'' & ``neuron maintains different concentration of ions(charged atoms'' thorough Rabi & Heisenber Hamiltonian. Further, after ``fractal space time are geometric analogue of relativistic quantum mechanics''[Ord], sought L.Marek Crnjac: ``Chaotic fractals at the root of relativistic quantum physics''& from famous Nottale: ``Scale relativity & fractal space-time:''Application to Quantum Physics , Cosmology & Chaotic systems'',1995. Acknowledgements to HE. Mr. H. TUK SETYOHADI, Jl. Sriwijaya Raya 3, South-Jakarta, INDONESIA.

  4. Fast and intuitive segmentation of gyri of the human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weiler, Florian; Hahn, Horst K.

    2015-03-01

    The cortical surface of the human brain consists of a large number of folds forming valleys and ridges, the gyri and sulci. Often, it is desirable to perform a segmentation of a brain image into these underlying structures in order to assess parameters relative to these functional components. Typical examples for this include measurements of cortical thickness for individual functional areas, or the correlation of functional areas derived from fMRI data to corresponding anatomical areas seen in structural imaging. In this paper, we present a novel interactive technique, that allows for fast and intuitive segmentation of these functional areas from T1-weighted MR images of the brain. Our segmentation approach is based exclusively on morphological image processing operations, eliminating the requirement for explicit reconstruction of the brains surface.

  5. Low level lead inhibits the human brain cation pump

    SciTech Connect

    Bertoni, J.M.; Sprenkle, P.M. )

    1991-01-01

    The impact of low level lead exposure on human central nervous system function is a major public health concern. This study addresses the inhibition of the cation pump enzyme Na,K-ATPase by low level lead. Human brain tissue was obtained at autopsy and frozen until use. Brain homogenates were preincubated with PbCl{sub 2} for 20 min at 0{degree}C. Inhibition of K-paranitrophenylphosphatase (pNPPase), a measure of the dephosphorylation step of Na,K-ATPase, reached steady state within 10 min. K-pNPPase activity, expressed as a percentage of control, fell to 96.3 {plus minus} 0.9% at 0.25 uM (PbCl{sub 2}) to 82.0 {plus minus} 1.6% at 2.5 uM (PbCl{sub 2}) in homogenates prepared from normal brain. Similar results were obtained with homogenates prepared from brains of patients with a history of alcohol abuse and of those with other miscellaneous conditions. Since the mean blood level of lead in the US has ranged recently from m9.2 to 16.0 ug/dl, these results indicate that current in vivo levels of lead exposure may impair important human brain function.

  6. The possible role of long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids in human brain phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Chamberlain, J G

    1996-01-01

    I propose that one of the key factors in human encephalization was increased HUFA intake, especially long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids from aquatic and terrestial meat source. This provided the needed neural membrane fluidity and transmitter/receptor functions for rapid acquisition of more advanced human traits and allowed the expansion of H. erectus into more northern climates. The human brain initially could build ecophenotypically, or adaptive/directed mutationally upon previously evolved mammalian sensor/motor structures, and could rapidly expand cognitive functions within a few million years; as more niches were invaded, more brain diversity was needed to guarantee reproductive success. The metabolically expensive and expanding brain was nutritionally and biochemically set, as it were, for rapid accommodation to tool making, rock throwing, culture language, electronics, and the eventual endless discussion and writings about the brain itself, the evolution of consciousness, and the mid-bran problem [107]. All of this fits, no matter which theory of human evolution one adheres to--i.e., out of Africa, multiregional, etc.--or even the precis fossil chronology [108]. This proposal, based as it is on known facts and certain assumptions appears logical, simple, and satisfying, but it may be wrong. Yet Charles Darwin himself would have approved, because as he so aptly said: false facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence do little harm for everyone takes a salutory pleasure in providing their falseness; and when this is done our path toward error is closed and the road to truth is often opened. [109]. PMID:8657555

  7. The possible role of long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids in human brain phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Chamberlain, J G

    1996-01-01

    I propose that one of the key factors in human encephalization was increased HUFA intake, especially long-chain, omega-3 fatty acids from aquatic and terrestial meat source. This provided the needed neural membrane fluidity and transmitter/receptor functions for rapid acquisition of more advanced human traits and allowed the expansion of H. erectus into more northern climates. The human brain initially could build ecophenotypically, or adaptive/directed mutationally upon previously evolved mammalian sensor/motor structures, and could rapidly expand cognitive functions within a few million years; as more niches were invaded, more brain diversity was needed to guarantee reproductive success. The metabolically expensive and expanding brain was nutritionally and biochemically set, as it were, for rapid accommodation to tool making, rock throwing, culture language, electronics, and the eventual endless discussion and writings about the brain itself, the evolution of consciousness, and the mid-bran problem [107]. All of this fits, no matter which theory of human evolution one adheres to--i.e., out of Africa, multiregional, etc.--or even the precis fossil chronology [108]. This proposal, based as it is on known facts and certain assumptions appears logical, simple, and satisfying, but it may be wrong. Yet Charles Darwin himself would have approved, because as he so aptly said: false facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence do little harm for everyone takes a salutory pleasure in providing their falseness; and when this is done our path toward error is closed and the road to truth is often opened. [109].

  8. A versatile new technique to clear mouse and human brain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Costantini, Irene; Di Giovanna, Antonino Paolo; Allegra Mascaro, Anna Letizia; Silvestri, Ludovico; Müllenbroich, Marie Caroline; Sacconi, Leonardo; Pavone, Francesco S.

    2015-07-01

    Large volumes imaging with microscopic resolution is limited by light scattering. In the last few years based on refractive index matching, different clearing approaches have been developed. Organic solvents and water-based optical clearing agents have been used for optical clearing of entire mouse brain. Although these methods guarantee high transparency and preservation of the fluorescence, though present other non-negligible limitations. Tissue transformation by CLARITY allows high transparency, whole brain immunolabelling and structural and molecular preservation. This method however requires a highly expensive refractive index matching solution limiting practical applicability. In this work we investigate the effectiveness of a water-soluble clearing agent, the 2,2'-thiodiethanol (TDE) to clear mouse and human brain. TDE does not quench the fluorescence signal, is compatible with immunostaining and does not introduce any deformation at sub-cellular level. The not viscous nature of the TDE make it a suitable agent to perform brain slicing during serial two-photon (STP) tomography. In fact, by improving penetration depth it reduces tissue slicing, decreasing the acquisition time and cutting artefacts. TDE can also be used as a refractive index medium for CLARITY. The potential of this method has been explored by imaging a whole transgenic mouse brain with the light sheet microscope. Moreover we apply this technique also on blocks of dysplastic human brain tissue transformed with CLARITY and labeled with different antibody. This clearing approach significantly expands the application of single and two-photon imaging, providing a new useful method for quantitative morphological analysis of structure in mouse and human brain.

  9. Visual dictionaries as intermediate features in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Ramakrishnan, Kandan; Scholte, H Steven; Groen, Iris I A; Smeulders, Arnold W M; Ghebreab, Sennay

    2014-01-01

    The human visual system is assumed to transform low level visual features to object and scene representations via features of intermediate complexity. How the brain computationally represents intermediate features is still unclear. To further elucidate this, we compared the biologically plausible HMAX model and Bag of Words (BoW) model from computer vision. Both these computational models use visual dictionaries, candidate features of intermediate complexity, to represent visual scenes, and the models have been proven effective in automatic object and scene recognition. These models however differ in the computation of visual dictionaries and pooling techniques. We investigated where in the brain and to what extent human fMRI responses to short video can be accounted for by multiple hierarchical levels of the HMAX and BoW models. Brain activity of 20 subjects obtained while viewing a short video clip was analyzed voxel-wise using a distance-based variation partitioning method. Results revealed that both HMAX and BoW explain a significant amount of brain activity in early visual regions V1, V2, and V3. However, BoW exhibits more consistency across subjects in accounting for brain activity compared to HMAX. Furthermore, visual dictionary representations by HMAX and BoW explain significantly some brain activity in higher areas which are believed to process intermediate features. Overall our results indicate that, although both HMAX and BoW account for activity in the human visual system, the BoW seems to more faithfully represent neural responses in low and intermediate level visual areas of the brain.

  10. Rock magnetism linked to human brain magnetite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kirschvink, Joseph L.

    Magnetite has a long and distinguished career as one of the most important minerals in geophysics, as it is responsible for most of the remanent magnetization in marine sediments and the oceanic crust. It may come as a surprise to discover that it also ranks as the third or fourth most diverse mineral product formed biochemically by living organisms, and forms naturally in a variety of human tissues [Kirschvink et al., 1992].Magnetite was discovered in teeth of the Polyplacophora mollusks over 30 years ago, in magnetotactic bacteria nearly 20 years ago, in honey bees and homing pigeons nearly 15 years ago, but only recently in human tissue.

  11. Simple instrument for biochemical studies of the living human brain

    SciTech Connect

    Bice, A.N.; Wagner, H.N. Jr.; Lee, M.C.; Frost, J.J.

    1986-09-01

    A simple, relatively inexpensive radiation detection system was developed for measurement of positron-emitting receptor-binding drugs in the human brain. This high-efficiency coincidence counting system requires that only a few hundred microcuries of labeled drug be administered to the subject, thereby allowing for multiple studies without an excessive radiation dose. Measurement of the binding of (/sup 11/C)-carfentanil, a high-affinity synthetic opiate, to opiate receptors in the presence and in the absence of a competitive opiate antagonist exemplifies the use of this system for estimating different degrees of receptor binding of drugs in the human brain. The instrument has also been used for measurement of the transport into the brain of other positron-emitting radiotracers, such as large neutral amino acids.

  12. Ubiquity and specificity of reinforcement signals throughout the human brain.

    PubMed

    Vickery, Timothy J; Chun, Marvin M; Lee, Daeyeol

    2011-10-01

    Reinforcements and punishments facilitate adaptive behavior in diverse domains ranging from perception to social interactions. A conventional approach to understanding the corresponding neural substrates focuses on the basal ganglia and its dopaminergic projections. Here, we show that reinforcement and punishment signals are surprisingly ubiquitous in the gray matter of nearly every subdivision of the human brain. Humans played either matching-pennies or rock-paper-scissors games against computerized opponents while being scanned using fMRI. Multivoxel pattern analysis was used to decode previous choices and their outcomes, and to predict upcoming choices. Whereas choices were decodable from a confined set of brain structures, their outcomes were decodable from nearly all cortical and subcortical structures. In addition, signals related to both reinforcements and punishments were recovered reliably in many areas and displayed patterns not consistent with salience-based explanations. Thus, reinforcement and punishment might play global modulatory roles in the entire brain.

  13. Outer brain barriers in rat and human development.

    PubMed

    Brøchner, Christian B; Holst, Camilla B; Møllgård, Kjeld

    2015-01-01

    Complex barriers at the brain's surface, particularly in development, are poorly defined. In the adult, arachnoid blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier separates the fenestrated dural vessels from the CSF by means of a cell layer joined by tight junctions. Outer CSF-brain barrier provides diffusion restriction between brain and subarachnoid CSF through an initial radial glial end feet layer covered with a pial surface layer. To further characterize these interfaces we examined embryonic rat brains from E10 to P0 and forebrains from human embryos and fetuses (6-21st weeks post-conception) and adults using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. Antibodies against claudin-11, BLBP, collagen 1, SSEA-4, MAP2, YKL-40, and its receptor IL-13Rα2 and EAAT1 were used to describe morphological characteristics and functional aspects of the outer brain barriers. Claudin-11 was a reliable marker of the arachnoid blood-CSF barrier. Collagen 1 delineated the subarachnoid space and stained pial surface layer. BLBP defined radial glial end feet layer and SSEA-4 and YKL-40 were present in both leptomeningeal cells and end feet layer, which transformed into glial limitans. IL-13Rα2 and EAAT1 were present in the end feet layer illustrating transporter/receptor presence in the outer CSF-brain barrier. MAP2 immunostaining in adult brain outlined the lower border of glia limitans; remnants of end feet were YKL-40 positive in some areas. We propose that outer brain barriers are composed of at least 3 interfaces: blood-CSF barrier across arachnoid barrier cell layer, blood-CSF barrier across pial microvessels, and outer CSF-brain barrier comprising glial end feet layer/pial surface layer.

  14. Outer brain barriers in rat and human development

    PubMed Central

    Brøchner, Christian B.; Holst, Camilla B.; Møllgård, Kjeld

    2015-01-01

    Complex barriers at the brain's surface, particularly in development, are poorly defined. In the adult, arachnoid blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier separates the fenestrated dural vessels from the CSF by means of a cell layer joined by tight junctions. Outer CSF-brain barrier provides diffusion restriction between brain and subarachnoid CSF through an initial radial glial end feet layer covered with a pial surface layer. To further characterize these interfaces we examined embryonic rat brains from E10 to P0 and forebrains from human embryos and fetuses (6–21st weeks post-conception) and adults using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. Antibodies against claudin-11, BLBP, collagen 1, SSEA-4, MAP2, YKL-40, and its receptor IL-13Rα2 and EAAT1 were used to describe morphological characteristics and functional aspects of the outer brain barriers. Claudin-11 was a reliable marker of the arachnoid blood-CSF barrier. Collagen 1 delineated the subarachnoid space and stained pial surface layer. BLBP defined radial glial end feet layer and SSEA-4 and YKL-40 were present in both leptomeningeal cells and end feet layer, which transformed into glial limitans. IL-13Rα2 and EAAT1 were present in the end feet layer illustrating transporter/receptor presence in the outer CSF-brain barrier. MAP2 immunostaining in adult brain outlined the lower border of glia limitans; remnants of end feet were YKL-40 positive in some areas. We propose that outer brain barriers are composed of at least 3 interfaces: blood-CSF barrier across arachnoid barrier cell layer, blood-CSF barrier across pial microvessels, and outer CSF-brain barrier comprising glial end feet layer/pial surface layer. PMID:25852456

  15. Human Evolution in Science Textbooks from Twelve Different Countries

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Quessada, Marie-Pierre; Clement, Pierre; Oerke, Britta; Valente, Adriana

    2008-01-01

    What kinds of images of human beings illustrate human evolution in school textbooks? A comparison between the textbooks of eighteen different countries (twelve European countries and six non-European countries) was attempted. In six countries (Algeria, Malta, Morocco, Mozambique, Portugal, and Tunisia), we did not find any chapter on the topic of…

  16. Genomic characterization of brain metastases reveals branched evolution and potential therapeutic targets

    PubMed Central

    Santagata, Sandro; Cahill, Daniel P.; Taylor-Weiner, Amaro; Jones, Robert T.; Van Allen, Eliezer M.; Lawrence, Michael S.; Horowitz, Peleg M.; Cibulskis, Kristian; Ligon, Keith L.; Tabernero, Josep; Seoane, Joan; Martinez-Saez, Elena; Curry, William T.; Dunn, Ian F.; Paek, Sun Ha; Park, Sung-Hye; McKenna, Aaron; Chevalier, Aaron; Rosenberg, Mara; Barker, Frederick G.; Gill, Corey M.; Van Hummelen, Paul; Thorner, Aaron R.; Johnson, Bruce E.; Hoang, Mai P.; Choueiri, Toni K.; Signoretti, Sabina; Sougnez, Carrie; Rabin, Michael S.; Lin, Nancy U.; Winer, Eric P.; Stemmer-Rachamimov, Anat; Meyerson, Matthew; Garraway, Levi; Gabriel, Stacey; Lander, Eric S.; Beroukhim, Rameen; Batchelor, Tracy T.; Baselga, Jose; Louis, David N.

    2016-01-01

    Brain metastases are associated with a dismal prognosis. Whether brain metastases harbor distinct genetic alterations beyond those observed in primary tumors is unknown. We performed whole-exome sequencing of 86 matched brain metastases, primary tumors and normal tissue. In all clonally related cancer samples, we observed branched evolution, where all metastatic and primary sites shared a common ancestor yet continued to evolve independently. In 53% of cases, we found potentially clinically informative alterations in the brain metastases not detected in the matched primary-tumor sample. In contrast, spatially and temporally separated brain metastasis sites were genetically homogenous. Distal extracranial and regional lymph node metastases were highly divergent from brain metastases. We detected alterations associated with sensitivity to PI3K/AKT/mTOR, CDK, and HER2/EGFR inhibitors in the brain metastases. Genomic analysis of brain metastases provides an opportunity to identify potentially clinically informative alterations not detected in clinically sampled primary tumors, regional lymph nodes, or extracranial metastases. PMID:26410082

  17. Exploring human brain lateralization with molecular genetics and genomics.

    PubMed

    Francks, Clyde

    2015-11-01

    Lateralizations of brain structure and motor behavior have been observed in humans as early as the first trimester of gestation, and are likely to arise from asymmetrical genetic-developmental programs, as in other animals. Studies of gene expression levels in postmortem tissue samples, comparing the left and right sides of the human cerebral cortex, have generally not revealed striking transcriptional differences between the hemispheres. This is likely due to lateralization of gene expression being subtle and quantitative. However, a recent re-analysis and meta-analysis of gene expression data from the adult superior temporal and auditory cortex found lateralization of transcription of genes involved in synaptic transmission and neuronal electrophysiology. Meanwhile, human subcortical mid- and hindbrain structures have not been well studied in relation to lateralization of gene activity, despite being potentially important developmental origins of asymmetry. Genetic polymorphisms with small effects on adult brain and behavioral asymmetries are beginning to be identified through studies of large datasets, but the core genetic mechanisms of lateralized human brain development remain unknown. Identifying subtly lateralized genetic networks in the brain will lead to a new understanding of how neuronal circuits on the left and right are differently fine-tuned to preferentially support particular cognitive and behavioral functions.

  18. Mathematical modeling of human brain physiological data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Böhm, Matthias; Faltermeier, Rupert; Brawanski, Alexander; Lang, Elmar W.

    2013-12-01

    Recently, a mathematical model of the basic physiological processes regulating the cerebral perfusion and oxygen supply was introduced [Jung , J. Math. Biol.JMBLAJ0303-681210.1007/s00285-005-0343-5 51, 491 (2005)]. Although this model correctly describes the interdependence of arterial blood pressure (ABP) and intracranial pressure (ICP), it fails badly when it comes to explaining certain abnormal correlations seen in about 80% of the recordings of ABP together with ICP and the partial oxygen pressure (TiPO2) of the neuronal tissue, taken at an intensive care unit during neuromonitoring of patients with a severe brain trauma. Such recordings occasionally show segments, where the mean arterial blood pressure is correlated with the partial oxygen pressure in tissue but anticorrelated with the intracranial pressure. The origin of such abnormal correlations has not been fully understood yet. Here, two extensions to the previous approach are proposed which can reproduce such abnormal correlations in simulations quantitatively. Furthermore, as the simulations are based on a mathematical model, additional insight into the physiological mechanisms from which such abnormal correlations originate can be gained.

  19. Mathematical Modeling of Human Glioma Growth Based on Brain Topological Structures: Study of Two Clinical Cases

    PubMed Central

    Suarez, Cecilia; Maglietti, Felipe; Colonna, Mario; Breitburd, Karina; Marshall, Guillermo

    2012-01-01

    Gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors and yet almost incurable due mainly to their great invasion capability. This represents a challenge to present clinical oncology. Here, we introduce a mathematical model aiming to improve tumor spreading capability definition. The model consists in a time dependent reaction-diffusion equation in a three-dimensional spatial domain that distinguishes between different brain topological structures. The model uses a series of digitized images from brain slices covering the whole human brain. The Talairach atlas included in the model describes brain structures at different levels. Also, the inclusion of the Brodmann areas allows prediction of the brain functions affected during tumor evolution and the estimation of correlated symptoms. The model is solved numerically using patient-specific parametrization and finite differences. Simulations consider an initial state with cellular proliferation alone (benign tumor), and an advanced state when infiltration starts (malign tumor). Survival time is estimated on the basis of tumor size and location. The model is used to predict tumor evolution in two clinical cases. In the first case, predictions show that real infiltrative areas are underestimated by current diagnostic imaging. In the second case, tumor spreading predictions were shown to be more accurate than those derived from previous models in the literature. Our results suggest that the inclusion of differential migration in glioma growth models constitutes another step towards a better prediction of tumor infiltration at the moment of surgical or radiosurgical target definition. Also, the addition of physiological/psychological considerations to classical anatomical models will provide a better and integral understanding of the patient disease at the moment of deciding therapeutic options, taking into account not only survival but also life quality. PMID:22761843

  20. Mathematical modeling of human glioma growth based on brain topological structures: study of two clinical cases.

    PubMed

    Suarez, Cecilia; Maglietti, Felipe; Colonna, Mario; Breitburd, Karina; Marshall, Guillermo

    2012-01-01

    Gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors and yet almost incurable due mainly to their great invasion capability. This represents a challenge to present clinical oncology. Here, we introduce a mathematical model aiming to improve tumor spreading capability definition. The model consists in a time dependent reaction-diffusion equation in a three-dimensional spatial domain that distinguishes between different brain topological structures. The model uses a series of digitized images from brain slices covering the whole human brain. The Talairach atlas included in the model describes brain structures at different levels. Also, the inclusion of the Brodmann areas allows prediction of the brain functions affected during tumor evolution and the estimation of correlated symptoms. The model is solved numerically using patient-specific parametrization and finite differences. Simulations consider an initial state with cellular proliferation alone (benign tumor), and an advanced state when infiltration starts (malign tumor). Survival time is estimated on the basis of tumor size and location. The model is used to predict tumor evolution in two clinical cases. In the first case, predictions show that real infiltrative areas are underestimated by current diagnostic imaging. In the second case, tumor spreading predictions were shown to be more accurate than those derived from previous models in the literature. Our results suggest that the inclusion of differential migration in glioma growth models constitutes another step towards a better prediction of tumor infiltration at the moment of surgical or radiosurgical target definition. Also, the addition of physiological/psychological considerations to classical anatomical models will provide a better and integral understanding of the patient disease at the moment of deciding therapeutic options, taking into account not only survival but also life quality.

  1. Of mice and genes: evolution of vertebrate brain development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fritzsch, B.

    1998-01-01

    In this review the current understanding of genetic and molecular evolution of development, in particular the formation of the major axis of bilateral animals, is critically evaluated, and the early pattern formation in the hindbrain is related as much as possible to these processes. On the genetic level it is proposed that the exuberant multiplication of regulatory genes compared to that of structural genes relates to the increased flexibility of early vertebrate development. In comparisons to fruit flies, many conserved genes are found to be expressed very differently, while many others seem to reflect a comparable pattern and thus suggest a conservation of function. Even genes with a largely conserved pattern of expression may change the level at which they are expressed and the mechanisms by which they are regulated in their expression. Evolution and development of hindbrain motoneurons is reviewed, and it is concluded that both comparative data as well as more recent experimental data suggest a limited importance for the rhombomeres. Clearly, many cell fate-specifying processes work below the level of rhombomeres or in the absence of rhombomeres. It is suggested that more comparative developmental data are needed to establish firmly the relationship between homeobox genes and rhombomere specification in vertebrates other than a few model species.

  2. Endocasts and brain evolution in Anthracotheriidae (Artiodactyla, Hippopotamoidea).

    PubMed

    Thiery, Ghislain; Ducrocq, Stéphane

    2015-09-01

    Anthracotheres are a fossil family of 'Suiformes' from the Old World, North and Central America. They are known from the middle Eocene to the late Pliocene, and are suggested to be the stem group of Hippopotamidae. Yet, their soft anatomy remains poorly known. In this study we describe the virtual endocast of the late Oligocene anthracothere Microbunodon minimum, reconstructed using microtomography, as well as the natural endocast of Merycopotamus medioximus from the late Miocene. These are the first anthracothere endocasts ever described. Particular attention is given to the relative proportions of the brain, the neocortex, the cerebellum and the olfactory bulbs. The 'backward shift' of the pituitary of M. minimum, and the possible presence of a K lobe in M. medioximus, is discussed. Previous statements that some endocranial characters were subject to convergence among mammals are also corroborated. PMID:26278931

  3. Convergent evolution of complex brains and high intelligence.

    PubMed

    Roth, Gerhard

    2015-12-19

    Within the animal kingdom, complex brains and high intelligence have evolved several to many times independently, e.g. among ecdysozoans in some groups of insects (e.g. blattoid, dipteran, hymenopteran taxa), among lophotrochozoans in octopodid molluscs, among vertebrates in teleosts (e.g. cichlids), corvid and psittacid birds, and cetaceans, elephants and primates. High levels of intelligence are invariantly bound to multimodal centres such as the mushroom bodies in insects, the vertical lobe in octopodids, the pallium in birds and the cerebral cortex in primates, all of which contain highly ordered associative neuronal networks. The driving forces for high intelligence may vary among the mentioned taxa, e.g. needs for spatial learning and foraging strategies in insects and cephalopods, for social learning in cichlids, instrumental learning and spatial orientation in birds and social as well as instrumental learning in primates. PMID:26554042

  4. Convergent evolution of complex brains and high intelligence.

    PubMed

    Roth, Gerhard

    2015-12-19

    Within the animal kingdom, complex brains and high intelligence have evolved several to many times independently, e.g. among ecdysozoans in some groups of insects (e.g. blattoid, dipteran, hymenopteran taxa), among lophotrochozoans in octopodid molluscs, among vertebrates in teleosts (e.g. cichlids), corvid and psittacid birds, and cetaceans, elephants and primates. High levels of intelligence are invariantly bound to multimodal centres such as the mushroom bodies in insects, the vertical lobe in octopodids, the pallium in birds and the cerebral cortex in primates, all of which contain highly ordered associative neuronal networks. The driving forces for high intelligence may vary among the mentioned taxa, e.g. needs for spatial learning and foraging strategies in insects and cephalopods, for social learning in cichlids, instrumental learning and spatial orientation in birds and social as well as instrumental learning in primates.

  5. Comparative genomic analysis of human Chlamydia pneumoniae isolates from respiratory, brain and cardiac tissues.

    PubMed

    Roulis, Eileen; Bachmann, Nathan L; Myers, Garry S A; Huston, Wilhelmina; Summersgill, James; Hudson, Alan; Dreses-Werringloer, Ute; Polkinghorne, Adam; Timms, Peter

    2015-12-01

    Chlamydia pneumoniae is an obligate intracellular bacterium implicated in a wide range of human diseases including atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Efforts to understand the relationships between C. pneumoniae detected in these diseases have been hindered by the availability of sequence data for non-respiratory strains. In this study, we sequenced the whole genomes for C. pneumoniae isolates from atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease, and compared these to previously published C. pneumoniae genomes. Phylogenetic analyses of these new C. pneumoniae strains indicate two sub-groups within human C. pneumoniae, and suggest that both recombination and mutation events have driven the evolution of human C. pneumoniae. Further fine-detailed analyses of these new C. pneumoniae sequences show several genetically variable loci. This suggests that similar strains of C. pneumoniae are found in the brain, lungs and cardiovascular system and that only minor genetic differences may contribute to the adaptation of particular strains in human disease.

  6. Superior pattern processing is the essence of the evolved human brain.

    PubMed

    Mattson, Mark P

    2014-01-01

    Humans have long pondered the nature of their mind/brain and, particularly why its capacities for reasoning, communication and abstract thought are far superior to other species, including closely related anthropoids. This article considers superior pattern processing (SPP) as the fundamental basis of most, if not all, unique features of the human brain including intelligence, language, imagination, invention, and the belief in imaginary entities such as ghosts and gods. SPP involves the electrochemical, neuronal network-based, encoding, integration, and transfer to other individuals of perceived or mentally-fabricated patterns. During human evolution, pattern processing capabilities became increasingly sophisticated as the result of expansion of the cerebral cortex, particularly the prefrontal cortex and regions involved in processing of images. Specific patterns, real or imagined, are reinforced by emotional experiences, indoctrination and even psychedelic drugs. Impaired or dysregulated SPP is fundamental to cognitive and psychiatric disorders. A broader understanding of SPP mechanisms, and their roles in normal and abnormal function of the human brain, may enable the development of interventions that reduce irrational decisions and destructive behaviors. PMID:25202234

  7. Superior pattern processing is the essence of the evolved human brain

    PubMed Central

    Mattson, Mark P.

    2014-01-01

    Humans have long pondered the nature of their mind/brain and, particularly why its capacities for reasoning, communication and abstract thought are far superior to other species, including closely related anthropoids. This article considers superior pattern processing (SPP) as the fundamental basis of most, if not all, unique features of the human brain including intelligence, language, imagination, invention, and the belief in imaginary entities such as ghosts and gods. SPP involves the electrochemical, neuronal network-based, encoding, integration, and transfer to other individuals of perceived or mentally-fabricated patterns. During human evolution, pattern processing capabilities became increasingly sophisticated as the result of expansion of the cerebral cortex, particularly the prefrontal cortex and regions involved in processing of images. Specific patterns, real or imagined, are reinforced by emotional experiences, indoctrination and even psychedelic drugs. Impaired or dysregulated SPP is fundamental to cognitive and psychiatric disorders. A broader understanding of SPP mechanisms, and their roles in normal and abnormal function of the human brain, may enable the development of interventions that reduce irrational decisions and destructive behaviors. PMID:25202234

  8. The human brain response to dental pain relief.

    PubMed

    Meier, M L; Widmayer, S; Abazi, J; Brügger, M; Lukic, N; Lüchinger, R; Ettlin, D A

    2015-05-01

    Local anesthesia has made dental treatment more comfortable since 1884, but little is known about associated brain mechanisms. Functional magnetic resonance imaging is a modern neuroimaging tool widely used for investigating human brain activity related to sensory perceptions, including pain. Most brain regions that respond to experimental noxious stimuli have recently been found to react not only to nociception alone, but also to visual, auditory, and other stimuli. Thus, presumed functional attributions have come under scrutiny regarding selective pain processing in the brain. Evidently, innovative approaches are warranted to identify cerebral regions that are nociceptive specific. In this study, we aimed at circumventing known methodological confounders by applying a novel paradigm in 14 volunteers: rather than varying the intensity and thus the salience of painful stimuli, we applied repetitive noxious dental stimuli at constant intensity to the left mandibular canine. During the functional magnetic resonance imaging paradigm, we suppressed the nociceptive barrage by a mental nerve block. Brain activity before and after injection of 4% articaine was compared intraindividually on a group level. Dental pain extinction was observed to correspond to activity reduction in a discrete region of the left posterior insular cortex. These results confirm previous reports demonstrating that direct electrical stimulation of this brain region-but not of others-evokes bodily pain sensations. Hence, our investigation adds further evidence to the notion that the posterior insula plays a unique role in nociceptive processing. PMID:25691071

  9. Common genetic variants influence human subcortical brain structures

    PubMed Central

    Hibar, Derrek P.; Stein, Jason L.; Renteria, Miguel E.; Arias-Vasquez, Alejandro; Desrivières, Sylvane; Jahanshad, Neda; Toro, Roberto; Wittfeld, Katharina; Abramovic, Lucija; Andersson, Micael; Aribisala, Benjamin S.; Armstrong, Nicola J.; Bernard, Manon; Bohlken, Marc M.; Boks, Marco P.; Bralten, Janita; Brown, Andrew A.; Chakravarty, M. Mallar; Chen, Qiang; Ching, Christopher R. K.; Cuellar-Partida, Gabriel; den Braber, Anouk; Giddaluru, Sudheer; Goldman, Aaron L.; Grimm, Oliver; Guadalupe, Tulio; Hass, Johanna; Woldehawariat, Girma; Holmes, Avram J.; Hoogman, Martine; Janowitz, Deborah; Jia, Tianye; Kim, Sungeun; Klein, Marieke; Kraemer, Bernd; Lee, Phil H.; Olde Loohuis, Loes M.; Luciano, Michelle; Macare, Christine; Mather, Karen A.; Mattheisen, Manuel; Milaneschi, Yuri; Nho, Kwangsik; Papmeyer, Martina; Ramasamy, Adaikalavan; Risacher, Shannon L.; Roiz-Santiañez, Roberto; Rose, Emma J.; Salami, Alireza; Sämann, Philipp G.; Schmaal, Lianne; Schork, Andrew J.; Shin, Jean; Strike, Lachlan T.; Teumer, Alexander; van Donkelaar, Marjolein M. J.; van Eijk, Kristel R.; Walters, Raymond K.; Westlye, Lars T.; Whelan, Christopher D.; Winkler, Anderson M.; Zwiers, Marcel P.; Alhusaini, Saud; Athanasiu, Lavinia; Ehrlich, Stefan; Hakobjan, Marina M. H.; Hartberg, Cecilie B.; Haukvik, Unn K.; Heister, Angelien J. G. A. M.; Hoehn, David; Kasperaviciute, Dalia; Liewald, David C. M.; Lopez, Lorna M.; Makkinje, Remco R. R.; Matarin, Mar; Naber, Marlies A. M.; McKay, D. Reese; Needham, Margaret; Nugent, Allison C.; Pütz, Benno; Royle, Natalie A.; Shen, Li; Sprooten, Emma; Trabzuni, Daniah; van der Marel, Saskia S. L.; van Hulzen, Kimm J. E.; Walton, Esther; Wolf, Christiane; Almasy, Laura; Ames, David; Arepalli, Sampath; Assareh, Amelia A.; Bastin, Mark E.; Brodaty, Henry; Bulayeva, Kazima B.; Carless, Melanie A.; Cichon, Sven; Corvin, Aiden; Curran, Joanne E.; Czisch, Michael; de Zubicaray, Greig I.; Dillman, Allissa; Duggirala, Ravi; Dyer, Thomas D.; Erk, Susanne; Fedko, Iryna O.; Ferrucci, Luigi; Foroud, Tatiana M.; Fox, Peter T.; Fukunaga, Masaki; Gibbs, J. Raphael; Göring, Harald H. H.; Green, Robert C.; Guelfi, Sebastian; Hansell, Narelle K.; Hartman, Catharina A.; Hegenscheid, Katrin; Heinz, Andreas; Hernandez, Dena G.; Heslenfeld, Dirk J.; Hoekstra, Pieter J.; Holsboer, Florian; Homuth, Georg; Hottenga, Jouke-Jan; Ikeda, Masashi; Jack, Clifford R.; Jenkinson, Mark; Johnson, Robert; Kanai, Ryota; Keil, Maria; Kent, Jack W.; Kochunov, Peter; Kwok, John B.; Lawrie, Stephen M.; Liu, Xinmin; Longo, Dan L.; McMahon, Katie L.; Meisenzahl, Eva; Melle, Ingrid; Mohnke, Sebastian; Montgomery, Grant W.; Mostert, Jeanette C.; Mühleisen, Thomas W.; Nalls, Michael A.; Nichols, Thomas E.; Nilsson, Lars G.; Nöthen, Markus M.; Ohi, Kazutaka; Olvera, Rene L.; Perez-Iglesias, Rocio; Pike, G. Bruce; Potkin, Steven G.; Reinvang, Ivar; Reppermund, Simone; Rietschel, Marcella; Romanczuk-Seiferth, Nina; Rosen, Glenn D.; Rujescu, Dan; Schnell, Knut; Schofield, Peter R.; Smith, Colin; Steen, Vidar M.; Sussmann, Jessika E.; Thalamuthu, Anbupalam; Toga, Arthur W.; Traynor, Bryan J.; Troncoso, Juan; Turner, Jessica A.; Valdés Hernández, Maria C.; van ’t Ent, Dennis; van der Brug, Marcel; van der Wee, Nic J. A.; van Tol, Marie-Jose; Veltman, Dick J.; Wassink, Thomas H.; Westman, Eric; Zielke, Ronald H.; Zonderman, Alan B.; Ashbrook, David G.; Hager, Reinmar; Lu, Lu; McMahon, Francis J.; Morris, Derek W.; Williams, Robert W.; Brunner, Han G.; Buckner, Randy L.; Buitelaar, Jan K.; Cahn, Wiepke; Calhoun, Vince D.; Cavalleri, Gianpiero L.; Crespo-Facorro, Benedicto; Dale, Anders M.; Davies, Gareth E.; Delanty, Norman; Depondt, Chantal; Djurovic, Srdjan; Drevets, Wayne C.; Espeseth, Thomas; Gollub, Randy L.; Ho, Beng-Choon; Hoffmann, Wolfgang; Hosten, Norbert; Kahn, René S.; Le Hellard, Stephanie; Meyer-Lindenberg, Andreas; Müller-Myhsok, Bertram; Nauck, Matthias; Nyberg, Lars; Pandolfo, Massimo; Penninx, Brenda W. J. H.; Roffman, Joshua L.; Sisodiya, Sanjay M.; Smoller, Jordan W.; van Bokhoven, Hans; van Haren, Neeltje E. M.; Völzke, Henry; Walter, Henrik; Weiner, Michael W.; Wen, Wei; White, Tonya; Agartz, Ingrid; Andreassen, Ole A.; Blangero, John; Boomsma, Dorret I.; Brouwer, Rachel M.; Cannon, Dara M.; Cookson, Mark R.; de Geus, Eco J. C.; Deary, Ian J.; Donohoe, Gary; Fernández, Guillén; Fisher, Simon E.; Francks, Clyde; Glahn, David C.; Grabe, Hans J.; Gruber, Oliver; Hardy, John; Hashimoto, Ryota; Hulshoff Pol, Hilleke E.; Jönsson, Erik G.; Kloszewska, Iwona; Lovestone, Simon; Mattay, Venkata S.; Mecocci, Patrizia; McDonald, Colm; McIntosh, Andrew M.; Ophoff, Roel A.; Paus, Tomas; Pausova, Zdenka; Ryten, Mina; Sachdev, Perminder S.; Saykin, Andrew J.; Simmons, Andy; Singleton, Andrew; Soininen, Hilkka; Wardlaw, Joanna M.; Weale, Michael E.; Weinberger, Daniel R.; Adams, Hieab H. H.; Launer, Lenore J.; Seiler, Stephan; Schmidt, Reinhold; Chauhan, Ganesh; Satizabal, Claudia L.; Becker, James T.; Yanek, Lisa; van der Lee, Sven J.; Ebling, Maritza; Fischl, Bruce; Longstreth, W. T.; Greve, Douglas; Schmidt, Helena; Nyquist, Paul; Vinke, Louis N.; van Duijn, Cornelia M.; Xue, Luting; Mazoyer, Bernard; Bis, Joshua C.; Gudnason, Vilmundur; Seshadri, Sudha; Ikram, M. Arfan; Martin, Nicholas G.; Wright, Margaret J.; Schumann, Gunter; Franke, Barbara; Thompson, Paul M.; Medland, Sarah E.

    2015-01-01

    The highly complex structure of the human brain is strongly shaped by genetic influences1. Subcortical brain regions form circuits with cortical areas to coordinate movement2, learning, memory3 and motivation4, and altered circuits can lead to abnormal behaviour and disease2. To investigate how common genetic variants affect the structure of these brain regions, here we conduct genome-wide association studies of the volumes of seven subcortical regions and the intracranial volume derived from magnetic resonance images of 30,717 individuals from 50 cohorts. We identify five novel genetic variants influencing the volumes of the putamen and caudate nucleus. We also find stronger evidence for three loci with previously established influences on hippocampal volume5 and intracranial volume6. These variants show specific volumetric effects on brain structures rather than global effects across structures. The strongest effects were found for the putamen, where a novel intergenic locus with replicable influence on volume (rs945270; P = 1.08 × 10−33; 0.52% variance explained) showed evidence of altering the expression of the KTN1 gene in both brain and blood tissue. Variants influencing putamen volume clustered near developmental genes that regulate apoptosis, axon guidance and vesicle transport. Identification of these genetic variants provides insight into the causes of variability inhuman brain development, and may help to determine mechanisms of neuropsychiatric dysfunction. PMID:25607358

  10. The modular and integrative functional architecture of the human brain

    PubMed Central

    Bertolero, Maxwell A.; Yeo, B. T. Thomas; D’Esposito, Mark

    2015-01-01

    Network-based analyses of brain imaging data consistently reveal distinct modules and connector nodes with diverse global connectivity across the modules. How discrete the functions of modules are, how dependent the computational load of each module is to the other modules’ processing, and what the precise role of connector nodes is for between-module communication remains underspecified. Here, we use a network model of the brain derived from resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) data and investigate the modular functional architecture of the human brain by analyzing activity at different types of nodes in the network across 9,208 experiments of 77 cognitive tasks in the BrainMap database. Using an author–topic model of cognitive functions, we find a strong spatial correspondence between the cognitive functions and the network’s modules, suggesting that each module performs a discrete cognitive function. Crucially, activity at local nodes within the modules does not increase in tasks that require more cognitive functions, demonstrating the autonomy of modules’ functions. However, connector nodes do exhibit increased activity when more cognitive functions are engaged in a task. Moreover, connector nodes are located where brain activity is associated with many different cognitive functions. Connector nodes potentially play a role in between-module communication that maintains the modular function of the brain. Together, these findings provide a network account of the brain’s modular yet integrated implementation of cognitive functions. PMID:26598686

  11. Stone toolmaking and the evolution of human culture and cognition.

    PubMed

    Stout, Dietrich

    2011-04-12

    Although many species display behavioural traditions, human culture is unique in the complexity of its technological, symbolic and social contents. Is this extraordinary complexity a product of cognitive evolution, cultural evolution or some interaction of the two? Answering this question will require a much better understanding of patterns of increasing cultural diversity, complexity and rates of change in human evolution. Palaeolithic stone tools provide a relatively abundant and continuous record of such change, but a systematic method for describing the complexity and diversity of these early technologies has yet to be developed. Here, an initial attempt at such a system is presented. Results suggest that rates of Palaeolithic culture change may have been underestimated and that there is a direct relationship between increasing technological complexity and diversity. Cognitive evolution and the greater latitude for cultural variation afforded by increasingly complex technologies may play complementary roles in explaining this pattern.

  12. Gene Expression Switching of Receptor Subunits in Human Brain Development

    PubMed Central

    Bar-Shira, Ossnat; Maor, Ronnie; Chechik, Gal

    2015-01-01

    Synaptic receptors in the human brain consist of multiple protein subunits, many of which have multiple variants, coded by different genes, and are differentially expressed across brain regions and developmental stages. The brain can tune the electrophysiological properties of synapses to regulate plasticity and information processing by switching from one protein variant to another. Such condition-dependent variant switch during development has been demonstrated in several neurotransmitter systems including NMDA and GABA. Here we systematically detect pairs of receptor-subunit variants that switch during the lifetime of the human brain by analyzing postmortem expression data collected in a population of donors at various ages and brain regions measured using microarray and RNA-seq. To further detect variant pairs that co-vary across subjects, we present a method to quantify age-corrected expression correlation in face of strong temporal trends. This is achieved by computing the correlations in the residual expression beyond a cubic-spline model of the population temporal trend, and can be seen as a nonlinear version of partial correlations. Using these methods, we detect multiple new pairs of context dependent variants. For instance, we find a switch from GLRA2 to GLRA3 that differs from the known switch in the rat. We also detect an early switch from HTR1A to HTR5A whose trends are negatively correlated and find that their age-corrected expression is strongly positively correlated. Finally, we observe that GRIN2B switch to GRIN2A occurs mostly during embryonic development, presumably earlier than observed in rodents. These results provide a systematic map of developmental switching in the neurotransmitter systems of the human brain. PMID:26636753

  13. Gene Expression Switching of Receptor Subunits in Human Brain Development.

    PubMed

    Bar-Shira, Ossnat; Maor, Ronnie; Chechik, Gal

    2015-12-01

    Synaptic receptors in the human brain consist of multiple protein subunits, many of which have multiple variants, coded by different genes, and are differentially expressed across brain regions and developmental stages. The brain can tune the electrophysiological properties of synapses to regulate plasticity and information processing by switching from one protein variant to another. Such condition-dependent variant switch during development has been demonstrated in several neurotransmitter systems including NMDA and GABA. Here we systematically detect pairs of receptor-subunit variants that switch during the lifetime of the human brain by analyzing postmortem expression data collected in a population of donors at various ages and brain regions measured using microarray and RNA-seq. To further detect variant pairs that co-vary across subjects, we present a method to quantify age-corrected expression correlation in face of strong temporal trends. This is achieved by computing the correlations in the residual expression beyond a cubic-spline model of the population temporal trend, and can be seen as a nonlinear version of partial correlations. Using these methods, we detect multiple new pairs of context dependent variants. For instance, we find a switch from GLRA2 to GLRA3 that differs from the known switch in the rat. We also detect an early switch from HTR1A to HTR5A whose trends are negatively correlated and find that their age-corrected expression is strongly positively correlated. Finally, we observe that GRIN2B switch to GRIN2A occurs mostly during embryonic development, presumably earlier than observed in rodents. These results provide a systematic map of developmental switching in the neurotransmitter systems of the human brain.

  14. Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy of human brain function.

    PubMed Central

    Shulman, R G; Blamire, A M; Rothman, D L; McCarthy, G

    1993-01-01

    The techniques of in vivo magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and spectroscopy have been established over the past two decades. Recent applications of these methods to study human brain function have become a rapidly growing area of research. The development of methods using standard MR contrast agents within the cerebral vasculature has allowed measurements of regional cerebral blood volume (rCBV), which are activity dependent. Subsequent investigations linked the MR relaxation properties of brain tissue to blood oxygenation levels which are also modulated by consumption and blood flow (rCBF). These methods have allowed mapping of brain activity in human visual and motor cortex as well as in areas of the frontal lobe involved in language. The methods have high enough spatial and temporal sensitivity to be used in individual subjects. MR spectroscopy of proton and carbon-13 nuclei has been used to measure rates of glucose transport and metabolism in the human brain. The steady-state measurements of brain glucose concentrations can be used to monitor the glycolytic flux, whereas subsequent glucose metabolism--i.e., the flux into the cerebral glutamate pool--can be used to measure tricarboxylic acid cycle flux. Under visual stimulation the concentration of lactate in the visual cortex has been shown to increase by MR spectroscopy. This increase is compatible with an increase of anaerobic glycolysis under these conditions as earlier proposed from positron emission tomography studies. It is shown how MR spectroscopy can extend this understanding of brain metabolism. Images Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3 PMID:8475050

  15. Neandertal birth canal shape and the evolution of human childbirth

    PubMed Central

    Weaver, Timothy D.; Hublin, Jean-Jacques

    2009-01-01

    Childbirth is complicated in humans relative to other primates. Unlike the situation in great apes, human neonates are about the same size as the birth canal, making passage difficult. The birth mechanism (the series of rotations that the neonate must undergo to successfully negotiate its mother's birth canal) distinguishes humans not only from great apes, but also from lesser apes and monkeys. Tracing the evolution of human childbirth is difficult, because the pelvic skeleton, which forms the margins of the birth canal, tends to survive poorly in the fossil record. Only 3 female individuals preserve fairly complete birth canals, and they all date to earlier phases of human evolution. Here we present a virtual reconstruction of a female Neandertal pelvis from Tabun, Israel. The size of Tabun's reconstructed birth canal indicates that childbirth was about as difficult in Neandertals as in present-day humans, but the canal's shape indicates that Neandertals had a more primitive birth mechanism. A significant shift in childbirth apparently occurred quite late in human evolution, during the last few hundred thousand years. Such a late shift underscores the uniqueness of human childbirth and the divergent evolutionary trajectories of Neandertals and the lineage leading to present-day humans. PMID:19380728

  16. Dental Calculus and the Evolution of the Human Oral Microbiome.

    PubMed

    Warinner, Christina

    2016-07-01

    Characterizing the evolution of the oral microbiome is a challenging, but increasingly feasible, task. Recently, dental calculus has been shown to preserve ancient biomolecules from the oral microbiota, host tissues and diet for tens of thousands of years. As such, it provides a unique window into the ancestral oral microbiome. This article reviews recent advancements in ancient dental calculus research and emerging insights into the evolution and ecology of the human oral microbiome. PMID:27514153

  17. Dental Calculus and the Evolution of the Human Oral Microbiome.

    PubMed

    Warinner, Christina

    2016-07-01

    Characterizing the evolution of the oral microbiome is a challenging, but increasingly feasible, task. Recently, dental calculus has been shown to preserve ancient biomolecules from the oral microbiota, host tissues and diet for tens of thousands of years. As such, it provides a unique window into the ancestral oral microbiome. This article reviews recent advancements in ancient dental calculus research and emerging insights into the evolution and ecology of the human oral microbiome.

  18. Brain systems for baroreflex suppression during stress in humans.

    PubMed

    Gianaros, Peter J; Onyewuenyi, Ikechukwu C; Sheu, Lei K; Christie, Israel C; Critchley, Hugo D

    2012-07-01

    The arterial baroreflex is a key mechanism for the homeostatic control of blood pressure (BP). In animals and humans, psychological stressors suppress the capacity of the arterial baroreflex to control short-term fluctuations in BP, reflected by reduced baroreflex sensitivity (BRS). While animal studies have characterized the brain systems that link stressor processing to BRS suppression, comparable human studies are lacking. Here, we measured beat-to-beat BP and heart rate (HR) in 97 adults who performed a multisource interference task that evoked changes in spontaneous BRS, which were quantified by a validated sequence method. The same 97 participants also performed the task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of brain activity. Across participants, task performance (i) increased BP and HR and (ii) reduced BRS. Analyses of fMRI data further demonstrated that a greater task-evoked reduction in BRS covaried with greater activity in brain systems important for central autonomic and cardiovascular control, particularly the cingulate cortex, insula, amygdala, and midbrain periaqueductal gray (PAG). Moreover, task performance increased the functional connectivity of a discrete area of the anterior insula with both the cingulate cortex and amygdala. In parallel, this same insula area showed increased task-evoked functional connectivity with midbrain PAG and pons. These novel findings provide human evidence for the brain systems presumptively involved in suppressing baroreflex functionality, with relevance for understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of stressor-related cardiovascular reactivity and associated risk for essential hypertension and atherosclerotic heart disease. PMID:21567664

  19. Injury Response of Resected Human Brain Tissue In Vitro.

    PubMed

    Verwer, Ronald W H; Sluiter, Arja A; Balesar, Rawien A; Baaijen, Johannes C; de Witt Hamer, Philip C; Speijer, Dave; Li, Yichen; Swaab, Dick F

    2015-07-01

    Brain injury affects a significant number of people each year. Organotypic cultures from resected normal neocortical tissue provide unique opportunities to study the cellular and neuropathological consequences of severe injury of adult human brain tissue in vitro. The in vitro injuries caused by resection (interruption of the circulation) and aggravated by the preparation of slices (severed neuronal and glial processes and blood vessels) reflect the reaction of human brain tissue to severe injury. We investigated this process using immunocytochemical markers, reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis. Essential features were rapid shrinkage of neurons, loss of neuronal marker expression and proliferation of reactive cells that expressed Nestin and Vimentin. Also, microglia generally responded strongly, whereas the response of glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive astrocytes appeared to be more variable. Importantly, some reactive cells also expressed both microglia and astrocytic markers, thus confounding their origin. Comparison with post-mortem human brain tissue obtained at rapid autopsies suggested that the reactive process is not a consequence of epilepsy.

  20. The nicotinic cholinergic system function in the human brain.

    PubMed

    Nees, Frauke

    2015-09-01

    Research on the nicotinic cholinergic system function in the brain was previously mainly derived from animal studies, yet, research in humans is growing. Up to date, findings allow significant advances on the understanding of nicotinic cholinergic effects on human cognition, emotion and behavior using a range of functional brain imaging approaches such as pharmacological functional magnetic resonance imaging or positron emission tomography. Studies provided insights across various mechanistic psychological domains using different tasks as well as at rest in both healthy individuals and patient populations, with so far partly mixed results reporting both enhancements and decrements of neural activity related to the nicotinic cholinergic system. Moreover, studies on the relation between brain structure and the nicotinic cholinergic system add important information in this context. The present review summarizes the current status of human brain imaging studies and presents the findings within a theoretical and clinical perspective as they may be useful not only for an advancement of the understanding of basic nicotinic cholinergic-related mechanisms, but also for the development and integration of psychological and pharmacological treatment approaches. Patterns of functional neuroanatomy and neural circuitry across various cognitive and emotional domains may be used as neuropsychological markers of mental disorders such as addiction, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson disease or schizophrenia, where nicotinic cholinergic system changes are characteristic. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled 'The Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor: From Molecular Biology to Cognition'.