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Decoding the Enigma of a Brain Region that has Confounded Researchers for Nearly a Century

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Each part of the surface of the brain (the cerebral cortex) has a specific functional description. Some areas move hands, others allow you to see or speak.

But one part of the brain’s surface, an area called the temporal pole because it sits at the tip of the temporal lobe, could not be associated with a specific function for at least the first 100 years of cortical research.

100 year old #brain mystery: colorful, vital function of temporary #pole disclosed @nordwestern@TheNewANA1https://t.co/PXNZOptzk8 https://t.co/X3LyI1Jdez

— Medical Express (@medical_xpress) June 6, 2023

By unraveling the mystery of the temporal pole, researchers have discovered its crucial role in understanding words, recognizing faces, and regulating behavior. Thanks to the unique disease TDP-C, which paved the way for the functions of this area of ​​the brain.#neurobiology

1/3 pic.twitter.com/Oa1qjsf3pr

— Neurology News (@NeuroscienceNew) June 6, 2023

Now scientists at Northwestern Medicine have discovered that this mysterious and seemingly silent surface has important functions in understanding words, recognizing faces, and regulating behavior.

A research paper was recently published in the Annals of Neurology. The scientists were able to determine the function of this previously unknown area by examining 28 patients with a unique condition, frontotemporal lobe degeneration known as TDP-C, which eventually destroys the temporal pole.

The post-mortem cases reviewed provide the most accurate identification of which areas of the brain were affected in the first place in a disease that progresses over 10–15 years.

“Research on this disease helps us understand how the brain deciphers the meaning of words, the feelings of others, and the identity of faces. This knowledge will help determine the nature of the disease and the nature of the brain networks responsible for understanding. words, identifying people, and monitoring interpersonal behavior.

Researchers at Northwestern University are currently studying the relationship between the temporal pole and these complex functions, and the nature of the relationship between TDP-C and the temporal pole.

“Answering these questions is key to helping patients with this disease,” said Ruth Dunbar Dave, also professor of neurology and founder of the Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Alzheimer’s Disease. , and to determine how the disease progresses and whether there are patient-specific risk factors.

Source: Medical Express

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