Are neurological disorders the result of brain evolution mistakes?


Recent research conducted with a team of highly qualified Australian researchers has introduced the idea that certain neurological disorders developed because of some mistakes that occurred during the evolution of the human brain. The study is published in a popular journal, Nature Neuroscience, and the researcher highlight their perspective of how these disorders emerged, and how modern scientific inquiry can be innovative by opening up certain paths of research.

Researchers are always examining the depths of the human brain and all the mechanisms that make it function in order to understand how this powerful organ operates, and they are constantly introducing us to new phenomena and findings that consolidate their findings and observations. Neurological disorders, such as schizophrenia, have long remained a prominent field of research that demands more and more scientific attention until this date. Scientists attempt to understand how these neurological disorders emerged, what are their symptoms and indications, and most importantly, how these disorders can be cured.

Neurological Developmental Disorders

In this recent study, scientists have attempted to offer insight into the development of certain neurological disorders, and they have proposed a new theory: some neurological disorders may be a result of natural brain evolution. They report that the natural process of brain evolution was an act of balancing, given the physical structure of the brain. Each skull has a different size, and hence, a human brain can only have so many organs and wirings. Therefore, during the process of brain evolution, the anatomical wiring and structuring of the brain had to compete against computational benefits, and hence as complexity increased, the former had to be compromised.

Moreover, the researchers reported that since there are very few means to increase the anatomical wiring of the brain, the nature of evolution is left to battle the challenge of increasing complexity. The study proposes that this balancing act of brain evolution is naturally likely to cause certain evolutionary changes that end up being defects. And some of these defects or errors are highly likely to contribute to the development of neurological disorders, like schizophrenia.

In this theory, the researchers highlighted that the brain features connectomes, which are basically the areas of the brain that have been connected in a particular manner for performing various specific purposes. As the process of brain evolution interacts with environmental changes, or changes resulting from factors that can cause mutations, the connectomes can alter or get damaged.

The researchers report that these changes, when viewed through modern and innovative brain testing equipment, are highly likely to emerge as alterations within the grey matter. This is primarily because the gray matter plays a detrimental role in routing the communications that take place within the brain.

In order to grasp a more comprehensive understanding of the kind of changes that may occur within the grey matter because of evolutionary mutations, the researchers developed a mathematical model to examine these changes. Their findings revealed that sometimes, the changes that occurred within the grey matter were consistent and similar with the changes that have been discovered amongst patients suffering from schizophrenia.

The researchers propose that their findings and stance have made a significant breakthrough in opening up two new approaches of neurological research. The first approach involves the examination of the hubs of communication present within the brain, and the manner in which these hubs evolve naturally. And the second approach will focus on how this information can be put to use in research and developing beneficial treatments that will prove effective at treating and eliminating neurological disorders, such as schizophrenia.



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