Published on November 17, 2011 at 7:32 AM
The researchers selected targets called "seed points" in the brain to look for patterns to how each point was related to all other points. They double-checked the validity of these seed points by also examining "marching seeds" - lines of seed points from one brain region to another. "If the results are meaningful, the patterns should remain similar within a region and then change when the seed point enters a new region," said Kremen.
They also used a hypothesis-free approach, a statistical method that doesn't involve any seed points and so eliminates the possibility of biased assumptions about particular seed points.
Anders M. Dale, PhD, professor of radiology and neurosciences at UC San Diego and a co-author of the study, said the study's findings have both basic and clinical implications.
"We know that genetics are important in determining brain structure," said Dale. "Increasing our understanding of genetics is a key step toward understanding normal brain development, but it is also crucial for understanding the development of brain abnormalities. Eventually, it may provide clues to the treatment of developmental brain anomalies that occur early or late in life. Also, because the study identified regions of the brain based on their genetic similarity, it may well improve the ability of researchers to find the specific individual genes that control the size of those regions."
Source University of California