Researchers on Wednesday found connections between the parts of the motor cortex, controlling movement, and a network that manages thinking, planning also physiological processes like blood pressure and heart rate.
Researchers discovered previously undiscovered system within the motor cortex that appears as multiple nodes situated between regions of the brain already known to be in charge of movement of particular body parts, like the hands, feet, and face and that become active when numerous different body movements are performed simultaneously.
The brain regions associated to internal organs like the stomach and adrenal glands in research involving monkeys were also discovered to correspond with this network, enabling these organs to alter their activity levels in anticipation of completing a certain action. They suggested that this may explain how thinking about a challenging activity might elicit physical reactions like sweating or an elevated heart rate.
"One is for discrete facial, foot, and hand motions. This technique is crucial for actions like writing or speaking that only require the use of one bodily component. A second system, known as the SCAN, is more crucial for coordinated, whole-body motions and is more connected to the brain's higher-order planning regions “Evan Gordon, a radiology professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is the study's primary author. The results describe the mind-body nexus in the brain.
The goal of the study was to examine an influential map of the brain regions governing movement created by neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield nine decades ago using modern brain imaging techniques. Precision imaging was used to identify the SCAN in seven persons in order to explore the organizational aspects of the brain. The SCAN was then confirmed in bigger datasets that, when combined, included thousands of adults. Subsequent imaging revealed the SCAN circuit in two children, aged 9 and 11 months, although it had not yet developed in a newborn. These findings were confirmed in bigger datasets containing thousands of 9-year-olds and hundreds of infants. The study demonstrated how much more has to be discovered about the human brain.