WEEKLY UPDATE: November 9, 2019
STUDY TITLE: Genome-wide association analysis of 19,629 individuals identifies variants influencing regional brain volumes and refines their genetic co-architecture with cognitive and mental health traits
SUMMARY: Identification of 23 genetic variants associated with total brain volume.
OVERVIEW: Differences in brain volume among people appear to be connected with differences in numerous cognitive and behavioral traits, including intelligence and emotional processing. Furthermore, genes involved in determining brain volume have been linked to diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. To gain a deeper understanding of the contribution of genetics to the brain’s total volume, this study examined the genomes of 19,629 individuals of European ancestry. The researchers found 23 genetic variants that correlate with total brain volume, many of which had not previously been discovered. The study also examined the correlation between brain volume and other traits, and found positive correlations between total brain volume and cognitive function, educational attainment, and proficiency working with numbers.
DID YOU KNOW? While this study identified a correlation between brain volume and cognitive function, there are many things we can do to “train our brain”. Practicing a musical instrument has been shown to improve cognitive function by forming strong connections between different parts of the brain. Reading and writing are also ways to give your brain a good workout! [SOURCE]