Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thalamus as Conductor

Two recent studies indicate that the thalamus is "heavily involved in sensory processing". The researchers found that not only does the thalamus play a role in sending auditory, visual and touch information to the cortex but it is also important in the actual sensory processing of this information. Using a special imaging technique, a pathway from the cortex, to the thalamus and back was observed. One of the researchers, Sherman, reports:

"Keeping the thalamus “in the loop” may help the brain coordinate sensory information with motor systems to direct attention or coordinate multiple cortical areas to accomplish different tasks."


The other study looked at auditory information and found that the thalamus acts differently depending upon the initial auditory information.

Both studies found that the thalamus must be considered when studying sensory processing. It is not longer viewed as a "pit stop" but as a "conductor" of information.

To read the full press release go to http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/2009/20091207-thalamus.html

Reference: University of Chicago Medical Center The thalamus, middleman of the brain, becomes a sensory conductor. Retrieved from the web on 12/9/09 from http://www.uchospitals.edu/news/2009/20091207-thalamus.html

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