World-renowned Greek Australian neuroscientist George Paxinos has discovered a new, previously unknown area of the human brain.
The region, which Professor Paxinos called “Endorestiform Nucleus”, is near the point where the brain connects with the spinal cord.
It’s located in the lower cerebellum section, an area that integrates and combines sensory and kinetic information to correct the posture, balance, and small skillful movements.
“The region is intriguing because it seems to be absent in the rhesus monkey and other animals that we have studied,” said Professor Paxinos, adding, “this region could be what makes humans unique besides our larger brain size.”
Professor Paxinos, a researcher at the Neuroscience Research Australia-NeuRA in Sydney, suspected the existence of the brain area 30 years ago and said now with better detection and imaging methods it was possible to prove its existence.
“There is nothing more enjoyable for a neuroscientist than finding a previously unknown area of the human brain. What is important is that this area is absent in monkeys and other animals. There must be some things that are unique to the human brain beyond its larger size, and this area is probably one of them,” he told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.
“What it remains to be done is to determine the function of this newly discovered brain region. Now that it has been mapped, it will be possible for it to be studied by the wider research community,” he added.
The discovery of the region may help researchers explore cures for diseases including Parkinson’s disease and motor neuron disease.
“I can only guess as to its function, but given the part of the brain where it has been found, it might be involved in fine motor control,” says Professor Paxinos.
Neuroscientists researching neurological or psychiatric diseases use Professor Paxinos’ maps to guide their work. Professor Paxinos’ brain atlases are known as the most accurate for the identification of brain structures and are also used in neurosurgery.