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How the brain gets its folds

A team led by Wyss Institute Core Faculty member L. Mahadevan used numerical simulations and a physical gel model to answer an age-old question that has vexed scientists for years: how did the outer layer of the mammalian brain (gray matter) become so convoluted atop the brains inner white matter? It turns out that at the heart of the brain matter is a relatively simple mechanical instability whereby the gray matter is constrained by the white matter, which leads to the characteristic folds and crevasses. The results, published in PNAS, help scientists better understand anomalies in brain development that lead to loss of function and disease.

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