A trip to brain for better performance in mathematics

Debjani Mandal, Dr. Abhishek Basu, Manali Biswas, Gunjan Dhar and Shamsuzzaman Ahmed

Brain, the most complex organ of the body with the largest neural network, associates its various parts in memory formation. Hippocampus and neocortex are important for answering problems with memorized mathematical facts. Hippocampus is more active in children compared to teenagers and adults. Children use fingers for counting, whereas adults depend on memory based information for solving a mathematical problem. Various parts of brain and the connections between these parts like posterior parietal cortex, ventrotemporal cortex, occipital cortex and prefrontal cortex are important for performance in mathematics. Neurogenesis in hippocampus plays a significant role in memory and learning. Exercise increases neurogenesis in hippocampus and in other parts of brain, which improves learning. Sex hormones affect brain development differentially in male and female. Sex hormones like estrogen promote neurogenesis by interacting with insulin-like growth factor-I and also promote development of connections between hippocampus and other parts of brain. Cathepsin B is a protein mainly involved in intracellular proteolysis. Exercise increases the expression of Cathepsin B. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and induces neurogenesis. The possible mechanism of its induction after exercise might involve estrogen receptor signaling pathway. cathepsin B promoter has binding site for transcription factors like Specificity protein 1 (Sp 1), Erythroblast Transformation Specific family of transcription factors (ETS) and Upstream Stimulatory Factor (USF). Estrogen receptor might form complex with Sp1 followed by USF binding on cathepsin B promoter. Therefore, increase in exercise can induce Cathepsin B expression and promote neurogenesis which along with practice of mathematical problems can improve performance in mathematics.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24327/ijcar.2017.3685.0346