Neuroscientist Discovers New Region of the Brain That Likely Impacts Fine Motor Control

Traumatic Brain Injury / Head Injury

By Melissa D. Carter

November 27, 2018

(Credit: NeuRA)

What do playing the piano and performing surgery have in common?  To a piano player and a surgeon, probably not much, but to scientists who research functions of the brain, the two activities are more alike than not.  Both involve a complex, fine motor function that appears to be unique to the human brain.  Professor George Paxinos, a world renowned brain cartographer, recently discovered a new region of the human brain that he believes could be part of this skill that makes humans unique.

Professor Paxinos has mapped out brain atlases, which are recognized as essential resources for neuroscientists around the world.  After 30 years of mapping, Dr. Paxinos has discovered a new region of the brain, through superior staining and imaging techniques, that he has named “Endorestiform Nucleus.”

The function of the Endorestiform Nucleus is not yet completely understood.  It is located near the junction of the brain and the spinal cord, within the inferior cerebellar peduncle, which is an area that combines sensory and motor information to refine our balance, posture and fine motor control.  Dr. Paxinos states that he can only guess at the function of the Endorestiform Nucleus, “but given the part of the brain where it has been found, it might be involved in fine motor control.”

Dr. Paxinos detailed the portion of the brain in his book, Human Brainstem: Cytoarchitecture, Chemoarchitecture, Myeloarchitecture. The finding has not yet been peer-reviewed, according to Science Alert.

Professor Paxinos believes that this new region could play a part in fine motor movements, and could aid in the search for treatment for diseases such as Parkinson’s and motor neuron disease. This is an exciting development for individuals who have sustained a spinal cord injury as well, as the discovery could mean great progress in techniques of rehabilitation and recovery. We are keeping our eyes out for further developments in research from Professor Paxinos and his research team.