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J Anat. 2004 Dec;205(6):433-42.

Degenerate neuronal systems sustaining cognitive functions.

Author information

1
Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology, London, UK. u.noppeney@fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

The remarkable resilience of cognitive functions to focal brain damage suggests that multiple degenerate neuronal systems can sustain the same function either via similar mechanisms or by implementing different cognitive strategies. In degenerate functional neuroanatomy, multiple degenerate neuronal systems might be present in a single brain where they are either co-activated or remain latent during task performance. In degeneracy over subjects, a particular function may be sustained by only one neuronal system within a subject, but by different systems over subjects. Degeneracy over subjects might have arisen from (ab)normal variation in neurodevelopmental trajectories or long-term plastic changes following structural lesions. We discuss how degenerate neuronal systems can be revealed using (1) intersubject variability, (2) multiple lesion studies and (3) an iterative approach integrating information from lesion and functional imaging studies.

PMID:
15610392
PMCID:
PMC1571441
DOI:
10.1111/j.0021-8782.2004.00343.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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