СОР № 1 Английский язык 10ЕМН класс Capabilities of Human BrainНазад
Capabilities of Human Brain
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Adolescents are Brain-Dense — and That’s Good
The brain consists of two types of tissues: gray matter and white matter. The white matter provides connections to brain’s processing regions. The gray matter coordinates that processing. The nerve cells of gray matter help control emotions, understanding and movement. They also respond to the senses, such as touch, smell and sound.
Now, scientists have found that gray matter in adolescents is denser than that in children. This adds vital information to existing beliefs about the developing brain. Neuroscientists study the brain and nervous system. Many years ago, they showed that kids lose gray matter as they enter adolescence. Yet, their brain function is not affected. Scientists have been trying ever since to explain how young adults cope with the loss of gray matter.
It turns out that scientists — just like everyone else — sometimes confuse two types of physical traits, such as density and volume. Volume is the three-dimensional space something takes up. Density is how much mass has been crammed into that space. Neuroscientists typically figure out the volume and density of gray matter by analyzing brain scans, explains Ruben Gur, who led the new research. He’s a neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
“When people studied aging, they looked at density and volume [of gray matter],” he notes. “And they found that both go down.” Gur believes this led scientiststo assume that both of these traits are so related that they essentially provide the same information. That led some neuroscientists who were studying the transition into adulthood to measure the volume only. They ignored gray matter’s density within that volume.
Indeed, Gur’s Pennsylvania colleague, EfstathiosGennatas, was skeptical about relying only on volume. Also a neuroscientist, he points out that an old brain is not the same as a brain transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Brain cells begin to die off in old age. That leaves the elderly with less gray matter. Not surprisingly, brain function tends to worsen in old people.
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