Scientists Study Brain's 'body Map'

LONDON, July 19 (UPI) — British scientists say they’ve discovered which part of the brain tells people where their hands, arms and legs are, even in the dark when they cannot see them.

The research shows that simple actions, like swatting a mosquito that has landed on an arm, requires a complex coordination of different sensory inputs for the brain to construct a constantly updated ‘map’ of the body in space, reported Friday.

University College London scientists have identified a region of the brain called the parietal cortex that creates this map from touch information from the skin combined with “proprioceptive” or “self-aware” information about the position of a hand relative to the body.

“Our brain constantly keeps track of the movements of the limbs, so that we always know the posture of our body, even with our eyes closed,” UCL neuroscientist Patrick Haggard said.

“Our results show, for the first time, how the brain updates this ‘body space.’ Our findings may be particularly relevant to children with developmental coordination disorder,” he said.

“One underlying problem is their poor sense of where their limbs are in space. Our result identifies the specific part of the parietal cortex needed to construct this map of body space.”

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