Quality of White Brain Matter Counts

Discussion in 'Science and Nature' started by MelT, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. #1 MelT, Jan 28, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2014
    new study led by Professor Bert De Smedt (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven) has found that healthy 12-year-olds who score well in addition and multiplication have higher-quality white matter tracts. This correlation does not appear to apply to subtraction and division.
    'Grey' cells process information in the brain and are connected via neural pathways, the tracts through which signals are transferred.
    "Neural pathways are comparable to a bundle of cables. These cables are surrounded by an isolating sheath: myelin, or 'white matter'. The thicker the isolating sheath and the more cables there are, the more white matter. And the more white matter, the faster the signals are transferred," explains educational neuroscientist Bert de Smedt.
    While the correlation between arithmetic and white matter tracts linking certain brain regions is known, very little research has been done to test this correlation in normally-developing children. Nor has previous research teased out differences in neuroactivity when carrying out different arithmetic operations, e.g., adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.
    In this study, the researchers had 25 children solve a series of different arithmetic operations while undergoing a brain scan. They then compared the quality of the children's white matter tracts with their arithmetic test performance.
    "We found that a better quality of the arcuate fasciculus anterior -- a white matter tract that connects brain regions often used for arithmetic -- corresponds to better performance in adding and multiplying, while there is no correlation for subtracting and dividing."
    "A possible explanation for this is that this white matter bundle is involved in rote memorization, whereas when we subtract and divide, such memorization plays less of a role. When subtracting and dividing we are more likely to use intermediary steps to calculate the solution, even as adults."
    Nursery rhymes
    These findings also add insight into the link between reading and arithmetic, explains Professor De Smedt: "Reading proficiency and arithmetic proficiency often go hand-in-hand. The white matter tract that we studied also plays an important role in reading: when we learn to read, we have to memorize the correspondence between particular letters and the sound they represent. It is likely that a similar process occurs for addition and multiplication. Just think of the notorious times-table drills we all memorized as schoolchildren; it is almost like learning a nursery rhyme. Some of us can even auto-recall these sums."
    "This also might explain why we often see arithmetic problems in children with dyslexia. Likewise, children with dyscalculia often have trouble reading," says Professor De Smedt.
    The researchers now aim to explore how these results relate to children with impairments such as dyscalculia or head trauma. In a next step, the team will also investigate how white matter tracts can be strengthened through extra arithmetic training.

  2. Really uninteresting

    Its almost as uninteresting as stephen hawkings..
  3. Find something on black matter Melt, apparently that is what increases from smoking weed.
  4. I read a study somewhere that said sleep deprevation weakens white matter and can cause depression

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  5. I cannot wait til they have the brain fully understood and mapped, although I doubt most of us, if any, will be alive to see it.. There's just so much to be understood in the brain that it's mind blowing. Math was something that came naturally to me, so I wonder what my white matter looks like.
    Black brain matter isn't really an actual term used in the medical/scientific community, but I tried looking something up.. Couldn't find anything other than older pages that referred to it as both black and dark brain matter. I think that's because at the time, little was known about it so it was labeled as dark, like how dark matter in space is labeled. Granted it's dark because it's before light, it's called dark because we don't understand it yet.. so it's dark to us. Figure the same applies to "black" matter because we didn't understand it, at the time. Now we know it's the glial cells and that they make up a HUGE portion of our brains and nervous systems. About 90% of our brain.. and we have a idea of what they do, but still not fully understood either.
  6. I remember a quote that went something like this.
    "If our brains were simple enough to understand, then we would be to dumb to understand them"

    Its an interesting thought. Is it even possible for a conciousness to fully understand itself?

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    I think so as my belief is that consciousness is a product of the brain, and it's just a matter of figuring out the whats and hows of it all. I really don't think our consciousness is really that much different than other mammals, only that it's many times more complex in nature. If you believe consciousness is from an outside source, than it probably wouldn't be.. but I have my doubts.
    It's a complex mess to go through up there. If you wanted your brain scanned all the way down to the 'up to' 10,000 connections each neuron forms, you'd have to scan 250,000 connections per second for 100 years in order to have scanned them all.
    Its an interesting thought. Is it even possible for a conciousness to fully understand itself?
    I think so, to try and simplify it.. I drive the car/contiousness. I think its about understanding the connections. Conciousness does not exist on its own accord. if that makes sence.
  9. But the car doesnt know how cars work

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    Thats a good way to break it down.

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