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News Picks : Brain imaging could further understanding of psychiatric disorders

By: Physics Today
20 November 2013
Los Angeles Times: Human brain function relies on three major neural networks— the central executive network (CEN), the salience network (SN), and the default mode network (DMN).The first two are thought to deal with outside-world stimulation, which requires cognition and decision making,and the third is thought to center on self-directed processes such as introspection and recall. To better understand the causal relationships among the three, researchers used transcranial magnetic stimulation and functional magnetic resonance imaging. What they found was that stimulation of the CEN and SN resulted in a drop in activity of the DMN, while inhibiting the CEN and SN caused the DMN to become more active. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help further the study and treatment of such psychiatric disorders as depression, autism, and schizophrenia.


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