The Behavioral Neurology of White Matter by Christopher Filley

By Christopher Filley

This specified booklet examines the position of the brain's white topic within the association of human psychological functionality. unlike common textbooks of behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry that emphasize the cortical and subcortical grey subject in brain-behavior relationships, this article in particular considers the white subject as a necessary contributor to cognition and emotion. Written from a scientific point of view, this publication is based at the research of sufferers with neurobehavioral syndromes because of problems basically affecting the brain's white topic. those syndromes comprise white topic dementia, focal neurobehavioral syndromes, and numerous neuropsychiatric syndromes. within the first a part of the publication, basic elements of myelinated platforms are coated to introduce white topic as a massive structural and sensible section of the mind. partially II, a radical evaluate of white topic issues in any respect a long time is equipped, fairly concerning their influence on common mentation. ultimately, half III synthesizes the accrued info right into a coherent precis that offers a behavioral neurology of white subject. through the e-book an enormous emphasis is put on dispensed neural networks, during which connecting white subject tracts supplement the operations of grey topic constructions within the construction of the human behavioral repertoire.

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In particular, elegant studies supporting a neurobehavioral role of the corpus callosum came from the work of Roger Sperry and Michael Gazzaniga, who used experimental animals and humans with "split brains" following surgical section of the corpus callosum to document commissural white matter contributions to cognitive function (Sperry, 1961; Gazzaniga, 1970). However, because patients with callosal lesions typically have surprisingly few, if any, obvious neurologic deficits, skepticism about the role of the corpus callosum in behavior has persisted (Bogen, 1993).

No other lobe of the brain enjoys such rich connectivity. The white matter is therefore structurally organized to facilitate frontal lobe interaction with all other regions of the cerebrum. Although the means by which the frontal lobes exert their prominent influence remain obscure, this pattern of connectivity provides a neuroanatomic basis for their essential role in human behavior (Weinberger, 1993; Filley, 1995; Mesulam, 2000). White matter tracts coalesce with each other in the cerebrum, forming a richly interdigitated mass of white matter within each hemisphere.

Thus, the brainstem and cerebellum are myelinated first, followed by the diencephalon and the cerebral hemispheres. This ontogenetic sequence mirrors the phylogenetic background of the brain, as more recently acquired brain structures require a longer time to myelinate than more ancient ones. , 1999), again in keeping with this principle. Among the major white matter tracts, the association and com ssural fibers are the last to myelinate (Yakovlev and Lecours, 1967; Fig. 3-1). The clinical significance of the sequence of brain myelination has long been debated.

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