UCL scientists disclosed that they have spotted the key brain area for navigating familiar places. This research might assist in explaining why brain damage observed in the initial stages of Alzheimer’s disease can lead to such critical disorientation. The latest study can be accessed in the journal Cerebral Cortex. This research is said to be the foremost to spot the specific brain areas employed in guiding the navigation of well-known places.
Scientists observed that a brain area long-known to be engaged in new learning, the hippocampus, was as well involved in tracking distance to a destination in a “recently learned” environment. But, while navigating a well-known place, another brain area, the retrosplenial cortex, was noted to “take over” tracking the distance to the destination. Hugo Spiers, Professor, Experimental Psychology, UCL, is the senior author on the research. He stated that the latest findings are important as they disclose the presence of two diverse areas of the brain that direct navigation.
On a similar note, a novel study on non-human primates highlighted that the intense use of alcohol amongst teenagers and young adults can slow down the rate of brain development. Scientists from the Oregon National Primate Research Center measured brain development via magnetic resonance imaging in about 71 rhesus macaques that consumed alcoholic beverages or ethanol. To rule out other possible elements, the scientists monitored the animals’ exact alcohol intake, daily schedules, diet, and overall health.
The outcomes of the latest research suggest that heavy alcohol consumption minimized the rate of brain development by about 0.25 Millimeters per year for each gram of alcohol taken per kilogram of body weight. For a human, heavy alcohol consumption equals about 4 beers a day. As reported in the journal eNeuro, the standard brain development in teenager rhesus macaques is 1 Millimeter per 1.87 Years.