Uncontrolled fluctuations, better known as noise, can affect the way the brain organizes itself, scientists reveal.
A group of researchers recently made public a report that shows a close connection between noise and brain organization. The study’s aim was to determine how uncontrolled fluctuations interfered with the brain’s organization especially during the development stage.
Researchers from the University of California relied on cutting-edge technology for imaging and mainly focused on the Retinoic Acid (RA) which is a derivative of Vitamin A. RA plays a crucial role in proper growth and development of the brain, but its functioning can be interfered with by excessive noise.
RA is a secreted molecule that aids in communication between one brain cell to another. The cells work by sending signals to each other and when the pathways are interrupted, it means the communications are cut short. This will affect the organization process which in turn interferes with growth and development.
Led by Thomas F. Schilling, a cell development and biology professor at the University of California, the group used fluorescence lifetime imaging to take advantage of the auto-fluorescent nature of RA and determine its distribution across the developing zebrafish embryo. The researchers place special emphasis on a particular type of protein that plays a crucial role in absorbing noise in the head.
Conclusions from the experiment showed that there are some regions in the head that have a higher concentration of RA and that this molecule has affinity to noise. Areas with lower concentrations were less-affected by the uncontrolled fluctuations while those with higher concentrations were more affected.
A specific type of protein that works closely with RA was also identified, and together with RA, the two elements helped absorb noise. However, too much noise affected the bonding and disrupted the organization in the brain; the response rate within the cellular structure was low.
According to Schilling, for the brain to function normally and RA gradient to respond as required, it is critical for noise to be within the right limits. Too much of it interferes with signalling within the brain cells and affects the brain’s organization. However, he further says that more research is necessary in order to have deeper understanding of the link between uncontrolled fluctuations and brain organization.
The research has brought to light evidence of poor brain organization as a result of noise. Based on the findings, people need to avoid overexposing children, whose brains are still developing, to noise.