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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 09:02 GMT
Brain model helps fight disorders
Brain image
The university has spent years researching complex brain circuitry
Scientists at Sheffield University have developed a computer model of the human brain to help doctors learn more about disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

They have made the first large-scale model of the basal ganglia - the brain structures which help control actions.

Dr Kevin Gurney, of the university's psychology department, said: "It paves the way for a greater understanding of brain diseases such as Parkinson's."

It may also help researchers studying Huntington's chorea and schizophrenia.

Dr Gurney said: "Computational models of the complex circuits of the basal ganglia are essential if we are to fully understand their function.

"Parkinson's disease is a disease of the basal ganglia, therefore a proper understanding of these brain structures and the activity of their neurons is crucial to help us learn more about this debilitating condition."

The research by academics in the Adaptive Behaviour Research Group is to be published in the Journal of Neuroscience.


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