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Science 330 (6005): 768-769

Copyright © 2010 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science


Change in the Brain's White Matter

R. Douglas Fields

"Gray matter" is only one of two types of brain tissue; the other "white matter" is rarely mentioned. Yet white matter makes up half the human brain and has not been thought to be important in cognition or learning outside the context of pathology. That view could change. Imaging and cellular and molecular studies are revealing white matter plasticity with possible implications for normal cognitive function and psychological disorders.

Nervous Systems Development and Plasticity Section, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD 20892,USA.

E-mail: fieldsd{at}

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