New brain region detailed
An Australian neuroscientist has discovered a previously unknown area in the human brain.
Professor George Paxinos has named the new region the “Endorestiform Nucleus”.
It is located near the point where the brain connects with the spinal cord, in the lower cerebellum section.
This area of the brain integrates and combines sensory and kinetic information for posture, balance and small skillful movements – everything from gymnastics to playing a guitar.
It could help explain why humans have far greater fine motor skills than our primate cousins.
Prof Paxinos says he first suspected the existence of the brain area 30 years ago, but has had to wait until better detection and imaging methods made it possible to prove.
The researcher at the Neuroscience Research Australia-NeuRA in Sydney said it was a very exciting find.
“There is nothing more enjoyable for a neuroscientist than finding a previously unknown area of the human brain. What is important is that this area is absent in monkeys and other animals. There must be some things that are unique to the human brain beyond its larger size, and this area is probably one of them,” he told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA).
“What it remains to be done is to determine the function of this newly discovered brain region. Now that it has been mapped, it will be possible for it to be studied by the wider research community,” he added.