Investigación de la Universidad de Tel Aviv: todos los mamíferos tienen un nivel idéntico de conectividad cerebral

Estudio sin precedentes en el mundo realizado en la Universidad de Tel Aviv-Cortesía: Universidad de Tel Aviv
Estudio sin precedentes en el mundo realizado en la Universidad de Tel Aviv

Se realizó un estudio sin precedentes en el mundo en la Universidad de Tel Aviv

Resonancias magnéticas (MRI) en cerca de 130 especies de mamíferos, incluidos humanos,
mostraron un nivel de conectividad idéntico entre todos

Investigadores de la Universidad de Tel Aviv (Israel), liderados por el Prof. Yaniv Assaf de la Facultad de Neurobiología, Química y Biofísica, el centro Strauss de Neuroimagen Computarizada y la Facultad Sagol de Neurociencias; y el Prof. Yossi Yovel de la Escuela de Zoología, el Museo Steinhardt de Historia Natural y la Facultad Sagol de Neurociencias, realizaron un estudio sin precedentes en el mundo. Se trata de una resonancia magnética avanzada en los cerebros de cerca de 130 especies de mamíferos, con el objetivo de identificar el nivel de conectividad dentro del cerebro.

Los resultados fueron fascinantes. Contrario a la creencia popular, arrojaron que el nivel de conectividad (es decir, la eficiencia en el traspaso de información de un lugar a otro en la red neuronal) en todos los mamíferos, incluido el humano, es idéntico.

Todos los cerebros se comportan acorde a las mismas reglas. Sea un delfín, un murciélago o un canguro.

La evolución formó a todos los cerebros de la misma forma en términos de eficiencia. Por lo que, sin importar el tamaño del cerebro y cuánta información almacena en su interior, la capacidad del cerebro de trasladar información de un lugar a otro (sea un cerebro “grande” de un humano o un cerebro “pequeño” de un murciélago) es idéntica entre todos los mamíferos.

El estudio se publicó en la prestigiosa revista Nature Neuroscience.

Como parte de la investigación se realizaron resonancias magnéticas (MRI) con tecnología avanzada en los cerebros de mamíferos de unas 130 especies distintas (es importante señalar que todos los cerebros fueron tomados de animales muertos y ningún animal fue sacrificado para la investigación).

Los cerebros, obtenidos del hospital veterinario de Beit Dagan en Israel, pertenecían a una amplia variedad de animales. Desde pequeños murciélagos que pesaban 10 gramos hasta delfines que pesaban cientos de kilogramos.

A su vez, los cerebros de cerca de 100 de estos mamíferos nunca se escanearon a través de resonancia magnética. Por lo que esta investigación generó una base de datos novedosa y única a nivel mundial. Además, los cerebros de 32 humanos fueron evaluados con la misma metodología.

Los investigadores encontraron que la conectividad en el cerebro no depende del tamaño o la estructura del cerebro.

En otras palabras, los cerebros de todos los mamíferos – desde el humano hasta los ratones, desde la vaca hasta el delfín – mantienen un nivel de conectividad idéntico. La información llega de un lugar a otro en el cerebro con la misma eficiencia.

Asimismo, encontraron que, para preservar el equilibrio, el cerebro utiliza un mecanismo de compensación. Cuando la conectividad dentro de los hemisferios (intra-hemisférica) es alta, la conectividad entre los hemisferios (interhemisférica) es baja, y viceversa.

Palabras del Prof. Yaniv Assaf:

“En nuestra investigación revelamos una ley universal: la ley de conservación de la conectividad cerebral. El significado de la ley es que el nivel de eficiencia en la transferencia de información en la red neuronal es idéntico en todos los mamíferos, incluido el humano, no depende del tamaño y estructura del cerebro.

Además, descubrimos un mecanismo de compensación cerebral que equilibra el nivel de conectividad en el cerebro.

Esto significa que la alta conectividad en una zona (del cerebro), que se expresa a través de habilidades especiales en un área particular (por ejemplo deportes o música), se ve equilibrada con una conectividad relativamente baja en otra zona del cerebro. En las próximas investigaciones evaluaremos cualidades específicas y procesos de aprendizaje y cómo el cerebro compensa el engrosamiento de las conexiones en una zona específica”.

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