Math skills may be linked to two neurotransmitters, study suggests

Scientists at Oxford University have shown that the amounts of two neurotransmitters in the brain may be related to a greater or lesser ability to solve mathematical problems.

Researchers knew that glutamate is another neurotransmitter called Gaba are linked to learning; but by measuring the levels of these substances in the brains of 255 people from six-year-olds to college-age youngsters and comparing the results with math tests, scientists have found that neurotransmitters have complementary roles in promoting health. ability with numbers.

In the experiment, the highest amounts of the neurotransmitter Gaba in the brain of the youngest were related to greater mathematical ability, while smaller portions of glutamate indicated greater success with numbers.

In young adults, the results were inverse, the more glutamate and less Gaba, the better the results when making calculations. In other words, the role of neurotransmitters changes over time.

The measurement was made with magnetic resonance imaging. The tests to assess the mathematical ability had tests of mathematical operations and logic, among others.

The study helps to understand a little more the role of substances in the acquisition of such a complex type of knowledge It is necessary. While some people consider mathematics intuitive and succeed in this topic, it is estimated that one in five people have difficulties with this area, write the scientists in the article that brought the results, published in July 22 in the magazine. Scientific Plos Biology.

Success in mathematics is associated with the well-being of the entire society, including educational progress, socioeconomic status, employment, salary, physical and mental health, and financial hardship. Thus, success in this area is the basis for a thriving society and an important tool for social mobility, the authors complete.

According to Roi Cohen Kadosh, professor of cognitive neuroscience at Oxford University and study coordinator , the results can help develop interventions directly in the brain to improve the ability to do math. But, until then, the way to become friends with the numbers studying in the old way doing a lot of calculation.

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