Brain Reroutes Information When DamagedBody Functions Never Stops after Brain Injury

The brain is the main controller of how the body conducts its functions, and it is also prone to injuries and damages. Some of these occurrences may affect the primary learning center, and when that happens, different channels have to be created to ensure that information is sent to the various vital organs in the body to keep it up and running. Complicated neural circuits are established to cover for the broken functionality. This was confirmed by some Life Scientist from Australia and UCLA, who have indicated the exact areas of the brain that are mandated with the establishment of the alternative routing of information. This is done away from the damaged area of the brain.

Michael Fanselow and Moriel Zelikowsky both of UCLA, and Bryce Vissel who is a group leader at Neuroscience Research Program at Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research conducted this research and they found out that when the brain’s main center of learning where images of memory are formed (the hippocampus) is damaged and cannot perform its functions properly, then its operations are taken over by some areas of the prefrontal cortex. This discovery will be very helpful to medics who will use this information to establish highly effective medication for Alzheimer’s disease and other serious malfunctions that involve the brain, for example stroke.

Experiments done In the Study

Zelikowsky and Fanselow in their laboratory experiments carried out the study by using rats. After the hippocampus of the rodents was damaged, they were still able to learn new things. The rodents however took a longer time to learn the things unlike in the normal circumstances, but after all they did learn through experiencing. Fenselow, who is a professor of psychology, observed that the expectation is that when a brain is damaged, it will need to learn or do things correctly through experiencing. Zelikowsky on the other hand, who is a graduate student at Fanselow’s Lab decided to go to Australia after the discovery that rodents could learn problem solving. While at Australia he worked with Vissel where they did an analysis of the changes that occurred in the rodents’ brains. This analysis revealed functional changes in two main areas of the prefrontal cortex.

The Benefit of the Study

This study will have a positive impact to the lives of those people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers argued that while the brains of these patients could be compensating for the injuries, the study will go a step further in increasing the compensation and improving the lives of those people. The operations in the brains of these people will be improved significantly because the hippocampus is the processing zone of the brain of a person. Memories get formed in this region of the brain, and hence processing, storage and the recalling of information is done here. Hippocampus can be highly damaged by a stroke or when the brain lacks oxygen for a lengthy period of time.