Scans Of One-Handed People's Brains Challenge Theory On Neural Organization

Dr Tamar Makin points to the part of the brain usually associated with our non-preferred hand, but taken over by other body parts in people who are one-handed from birth. University College, London

Makin stresses that more evidence is needed before we completely rework our ideas of how the brain is structured. In particular, she suggests looking at the brains of children as they learn certain functions, but argues further research could prove highly valuable. “If we, as neuroscientists, could harness this process, we could provide a really powerful tool to better healthcare and society,” she said, citing examples such as controlling prosthetic arms.

The discovery of just how flexible the brain can be, known as neuro-plasticity, has been one of the big scientific developments of recent decades, as it has been shown that brain parts can take on new roles to compensate for damage. Nevertheless, Makin's discovery could take that plasticity to a new level.

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