Brain Connections

How the mind controls the body

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Science  16 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6305, pp. 1246-1247
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6305.1246-b

Can our brain influence our internal organs? Dum et al. used retrograde transneuronal transport of rabies virus to identify the brain regions that project to a part of the adrenal gland called the medulla. Two networks are the major sources of neuronal input to this organ, which plays an important role in dealing with physical and emotional stress. One network includes the primary motor cortex and specific regions in the frontal lobe of the brain. The other network involves distinct parts of the anterior cingulate cortex, an area that regulates cognition and emotion. The central commands that control the adrenal medulla originate from brain regions that are involved in multiple functions, including body movement, cognitive control, and affective processing.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1605044113 (2016).

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