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      The Angular Gyrus : Multiple Functions and Multiple Subdivisions


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          There is considerable interest in the structural and functional properties of the angular gyrus (AG). Located in the posterior part of the inferior parietal lobule, the AG has been shown in numerous meta-analysis reviews to be consistently activated in a variety of tasks. This review discusses the involvement of the AG in semantic processing, word reading and comprehension, number processing, default mode network, memory retrieval, attention and spatial cognition, reasoning, and social cognition. This large functional neuroimaging literature depicts a major role for the AG in processing concepts rather than percepts when interfacing perception-to-recognition-to-action. More specifically, the AG emerges as a cross-modal hub where converging multisensory information is combined and integrated to comprehend and give sense to events, manipulate mental representations, solve familiar problems, and reorient attention to relevant information. In addition, this review discusses recent findings that point to the existence of multiple subdivisions in the AG. This spatial parcellation can serve as a framework for reporting AG activations with greater definition. This review also acknowledges that the role of the AG cannot comprehensibly be identified in isolation but needs to be understood in parallel with the influence from other regions. Several interesting questions that warrant further investigations are finally emphasized.

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          The organization of the human cerebral cortex estimated by intrinsic functional connectivity.

          Information processing in the cerebral cortex involves interactions among distributed areas. Anatomical connectivity suggests that certain areas form local hierarchical relations such as within the visual system. Other connectivity patterns, particularly among association areas, suggest the presence of large-scale circuits without clear hierarchical relations. In this study the organization of networks in the human cerebrum was explored using resting-state functional connectivity MRI. Data from 1,000 subjects were registered using surface-based alignment. A clustering approach was employed to identify and replicate networks of functionally coupled regions across the cerebral cortex. The results revealed local networks confined to sensory and motor cortices as well as distributed networks of association regions. Within the sensory and motor cortices, functional connectivity followed topographic representations across adjacent areas. In association cortex, the connectivity patterns often showed abrupt transitions between network boundaries. Focused analyses were performed to better understand properties of network connectivity. A canonical sensory-motor pathway involving primary visual area, putative middle temporal area complex (MT+), lateral intraparietal area, and frontal eye field was analyzed to explore how interactions might arise within and between networks. Results showed that adjacent regions of the MT+ complex demonstrate differential connectivity consistent with a hierarchical pathway that spans networks. The functional connectivity of parietal and prefrontal association cortices was next explored. Distinct connectivity profiles of neighboring regions suggest they participate in distributed networks that, while showing evidence for interactions, are embedded within largely parallel, interdigitated circuits. We conclude by discussing the organization of these large-scale cerebral networks in relation to monkey anatomy and their potential evolutionary expansion in humans to support cognition.
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            A default mode of brain function.

            A baseline or control state is fundamental to the understanding of most complex systems. Defining a baseline state in the human brain, arguably our most complex system, poses a particular challenge. Many suspect that left unconstrained, its activity will vary unpredictably. Despite this prediction we identify a baseline state of the normal adult human brain in terms of the brain oxygen extraction fraction or OEF. The OEF is defined as the ratio of oxygen used by the brain to oxygen delivered by flowing blood and is remarkably uniform in the awake but resting state (e.g., lying quietly with eyes closed). Local deviations in the OEF represent the physiological basis of signals of changes in neuronal activity obtained with functional MRI during a wide variety of human behaviors. We used quantitative metabolic and circulatory measurements from positron-emission tomography to obtain the OEF regionally throughout the brain. Areas of activation were conspicuous by their absence. All significant deviations from the mean hemisphere OEF were increases, signifying deactivations, and resided almost exclusively in the visual system. Defining the baseline state of an area in this manner attaches meaning to a group of areas that consistently exhibit decreases from this baseline, during a wide variety of goal-directed behaviors monitored with positron-emission tomography and functional MRI. These decreases suggest the existence of an organized, baseline default mode of brain function that is suspended during specific goal-directed behaviors.
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              The brain's default network: anatomy, function, and relevance to disease.

              Thirty years of brain imaging research has converged to define the brain's default network-a novel and only recently appreciated brain system that participates in internal modes of cognition. Here we synthesize past observations to provide strong evidence that the default network is a specific, anatomically defined brain system preferentially active when individuals are not focused on the external environment. Analysis of connectional anatomy in the monkey supports the presence of an interconnected brain system. Providing insight into function, the default network is active when individuals are engaged in internally focused tasks including autobiographical memory retrieval, envisioning the future, and conceiving the perspectives of others. Probing the functional anatomy of the network in detail reveals that it is best understood as multiple interacting subsystems. The medial temporal lobe subsystem provides information from prior experiences in the form of memories and associations that are the building blocks of mental simulation. The medial prefrontal subsystem facilitates the flexible use of this information during the construction of self-relevant mental simulations. These two subsystems converge on important nodes of integration including the posterior cingulate cortex. The implications of these functional and anatomical observations are discussed in relation to possible adaptive roles of the default network for using past experiences to plan for the future, navigate social interactions, and maximize the utility of moments when we are not otherwise engaged by the external world. We conclude by discussing the relevance of the default network for understanding mental disorders including autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's disease.

                Author and article information

                The Neuroscientist
                SAGE Publications (Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA )
                February 2013
                February 2013
                : 19
                : 1
                : 43-61
                [1 ]Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, Institute of Neurology, UCL, London, UK
                Author notes
                [*]Dr. Mohamed L. Seghier, Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology, 12 Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK Email: m.seghier@ 123456fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk
                © The Author(s) 2013

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License ( http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page ( http://www.uk.sagepub.com/aboutus/openaccess.htm).


                inferior parietal lobule,connectivity,cross-modal integration,semantic,default network


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