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Mapping intelligence functions of the brain

In a study published in Brain: A Journal of Neurology, researchers report that they have mapped the physical architecture of intelligence in the brain.

The study used 182 volunteer Vietnam veterans with highly localized brain damage from penetrating head injuries.

By using brain injury survivors with focal brain injuries the study was able to look at how damage to particular brain regions produces specific forms of cognitive impairment.

The researchers took CT scans of the participants' brains and administered an extensive battery of cognitive tests. They pooled the CT data to produce a collective map of the cortex, which they divided into more than 3,000 three-dimensional units called voxels. By analyzing multiple patients with damage to a particular voxel or cluster of voxels and comparing their cognitive abilities with those of patients in whom the same structures were intact, the researchers were able to identify brain regions essential to specific cognitive functions, and those structures that contribute significantly to intelligence.

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