Monday, August 8, 2011

More on brain maps - not good at height

I think I've mentioned before the idea of brain mapsmc started wrote about this a while ago and pointed me towards the book - The Body has a Mind of its Own

There was a good discussion of the ideas at Paul's Perfect Health Diet blog too recently, with something from Todd Hargrove and a good follow up discussion

It is also a topic on which the excellent Becoming Bulletproof is built. 

Anyway, I spotted this interesting report on how brain maps - at least in rats - are pretty flat.  They are not good at estimating their position with respect to height. 

Read more here

Animal's brains are only roughly aware of how high-up they are in space, meaning that in terms of altitude the brain's 'map' of space is surprisingly flat, according to new research.

In a study published online today in Nature Neuroscience, scientists studied cells in or near a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which forms the brain's map of space, to see whether they were activated when rats climbed upwards.

The study, supported by the Wellcome Trust, looked at two types of cells known to be involved in the brain's representation of space: grid cells, which measure distance, and place cells, which indicate location. Scientists found that only place cells were sensitive to the animal moving upwards in altitude, and even then only weakly so.

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