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Scientists study the brain as it grows

June 23, 2010 at 1:57 PM   |   Comments

GOTTINGEN, Germany, June 23 (UPI) -- German scientists say they've determined that a baby's brain is particularly flexible and easily changes because it must function while it grows.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Gottingen, Germany, the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin, Schiller University in Jena, Germany, and Princeton University said they used a combination of experiments, mathematical models and computer simulations to show neuronal connections in the visual cortex of cats are restructured during the growth phase and that restructuring can be explained by self-organizational processes.

"This is an enormous achievement by the brain -- undertaking such a restructuring while continuing to function," said Wolfgang Keil, a Max Planck scientist and first author of the study. "There is no engineer behind this conducting the planning, the process must generate itself."

The study, led by former Max Planck researcher Matthias Kaschube who is now at Princeton, appears in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Topics: Max Planck
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