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Brain research may uncover clues to functioning

Hard work can go a long way towards cognitive development. On the other side of the nature-nature debate, physiology also contributes to neurological functioning. A recent study of Albert Einstein's preserved brain has uncovered a surprising anomaly that weighs in favor of the nature influence.

Specifically, researches discovered that the nerve fibers connecting the two hemispheres in Einstein's brain -- called the corpus callosum -- were unusually thick, in comparison to the average person's. Although the exact implication of that finding is not understood, the extra nerve connectivity may have contributed to Einstein's cognitive leaps and genius. At a minimum, the extra development may have enhanced communication between both brain hemispheres.

The discovery, while recent, is not the only unusual aspect to Einstein's brain. Researchers previously discovered that the prefrontal cortex of Einstein's brain was also unusually developed. That area of the brain is responsible for abstract thinking, among many other functions. Researchers also observed other areas of extra convolution, as well as an abundance of glial cells.

As researchers continue to explore the mysteries of the brain, some may hope to discover more complete physiological explanations for mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. As readers might suspect, there can be a subjective element to the diagnosis of many mental illnesses.

Not surprisingly, the approval of Social Security disability insurance benefits on the basis of a qualifying mental condition might seem equally subjective. Although the Social Security Administration does allow for the possibility, an attorney might agree that actually obtaining SSDI benefits for a mental disability might seem like a theoretical exercise. With compelling evidence, however, an applicant might be successful.

Source: natureworld.com, "Einstein's Brain Hemispheres were Unusually Well-connected, Study Reveals," James A. Foley, Oct. 4, 2013

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