PET study takes 'nature versus nurture' debate inside the brain

Researchers from the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan have used PET imaging to examine the respective impacts of genetics and environmental factors on the brain, according to study results published in the March issue of Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

The study used both identical twin pairs and fraternal twin pairs to estimate the extent of genetic and environmental influences using imaging results from PET scans.

The results showed that both genetic and environmental factors affected glucose metabolism but in distinctly different areas of the brain, with the left and right parietal lobes as well as the left temporal lobe being predominately influenced by genetics while other regions of the brain respond most to environmental influences.

Aside from stoking the fires of the “nature verses nurture” debate, the researcher’s findings show promise in the possibility of using imaging to better understand neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease or psychiatric disorders.

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