The Improved Map of the Brain Explains Motor Function

A new chart showing the relationship between the brain and motor functions finds that researchers botched the first attempt.

Journal of Neuroscience

About 60 years ago, Canadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield mapped out what he thought was the relationship between the brain and the the human body by running current through the grey matter of patients in epilepsy surgery. Despite the relatively primitive methods, he got it mostly right. Mostly.

iO9 reports that a study recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience gives us a more accurate picture of the homunculus, shuffling the region responsible for neck motor control. The Emory University School of Medicine researchers behind the re-chart had functioning magnetic resonance imaging on their side though, so as lead researcher Buz Jinnah said, “We can’t be that hard on Penfield.” This tweaked model mirrors the arrangement of your physical body much more closely.

You can check out the entire study and how its findings could change how we treat head and neck disorders here.


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