Making Connections: Molecular and connectomic contributions to disease and disorder in the human brain
Author: Alexander Albury
Lay summary of article by Hansen JY et al. 2022 examining relationship between multimodally infomred brain connectivity across disorders
It's easy to picture the brain as a tangle of wires, criss-crossing and carrying information in all directions. But there's order in the chaos of our brains, with each of these connections serving a purpose by facilitating communication between the many cooperating brain areas necessary for complex behaviors. And in such a densely connected network, few things happen in isolation. Just as this broad connectivity serves to support the transportation of resources and information through the network, it also makes the brain more susceptible to disorders that can disrupt this delicate system.
A multidisciplinary group of researchers set out to investigate how much neurological disorders are caused by factors limited to a specific brain region, versus how much they depend on variability and abnormalities in larger brain networks.
In a paper published in Nature in 2022, Justine Y. Hansen and colleagues examined the relationship between connectivity—how parts of the brain connect to each other—and molecular vulnerability—the characteristics of individual cells in specific brain regions, in the presentation and progression of 13 common diseases and disorders, including ADHD, schizophrenia, depression, and epilepsy.
Author: Simon Steinkamp