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Blame brain cells for lack of focus

Scientists discover a neuronal network that may affect attention abilities

4:58pm, May 3, 2011

Easily distracted people can stop blaming their lack of focus on the royal wedding, Facebook feeds and hilarious YouTube videos of honey badgers. Rather, a small network of cells in the back left part of the brain may be the culprit, researchers report in the May 4 Journal of Neuroscience.

Knowing how the brain focuses on what’s important — and filters out noise — may help scientists come up with ways to counteract attention disorders.

“Attention has a huge effect on our lives,” says cognitive neuroscientist Carmel Mevorach of the University of Birmingham in England, who was not involved in the study. “Everything we do — literally, everything we do — is affected by attention.”

In this age of information overload, appropriating attention is a challenge, says study coauthor Ryota Kanai of University College London, and some people are much more susceptible to distractions. Kanai and his colleagues

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