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Journal Article

Comparison of the septal areas in New Guinean and European brains


Schüz,  A
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Koch, F., Schüz, A., & Kariks, J. (1985). Comparison of the septal areas in New Guinean and European brains. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 67(3), 259-267. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330670311.

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In 1966, septal nuclei of unusual size in brains of kuru-diseased Fore people from the Eastern Highlands of New Guinea were reported (Beck and Gajdusek, 1966). Microscopic investigation which did not reveal any pathological changes in these nuclei led to the question of whether their large size could be a characteristic feature of the Fore (and perhaps also of other ethnic groups of New Guinea), rather than a consequence of the disease. We had at our disposal brains from patients of coastal areas of New Guinea who did not suffer from kuru. The septal areas of eight cases were investigated by serial sections and compared to those of nine European brains. No difference in size comparable to that reported in the earlier study could be detected. We conclude that a possible pecularity in the size of the septal nuclei of Fore people cannot be generalized to the entire population of New Guinea.