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The brain&s silent majority - 2009 FALL - Stanford Medicine Magazine - Stanford University School of MedicineWhen you have no clue, call it glue. “Glia,” the Greek word for glue, was the name the pathologist Rudolph Virchow gave, back in 1856, to the gelatinous substance that forms the bulk of the brain. And it stuck. These days, scientists use it to denote the matter that accounts for 90 percent of the brain’s cells and more than half its volume — but, like the late comic Rodney Dangerfield, “can’t get no respect.” Neurons, the “talented tenth” of the human brain that hog the lion’s share of brain scientists’ attention, are indeed a work of evolutionary art. They’ve got a knack that glia lack: Their aptitude for high-speed, long-distance communication makes them the nervous system’s premier information processors.
NEW YORK (June 22, 2011) — Two studies featuring research from Weill Cornell Medical College have uncovered surprising details about the complex process that leads to the flow of neurotransmitters between brain neurons — a dance of chemical messages so delicate that missteps often lead to neurological dysfunction. A recent Nature Neuroscience study led by Dr. Timothy Ryan , professor of biochemistry at Weill Cornell Medical College, demonstrates that individual neurons somehow control the speed by which they recycle synaptic vesicles that store neurotransmitters before they are released. No one had expected that neurons would have such a powerful "gas pedal," says Dr. Ryan.
Can't remember the names of the cranial nerves? Here is a handy-dandy mnemonic for you: O n O ld O lympus T owering T op A F amous V ocal G erman V iewed S ome H ops. The bold letters stand for:
Neurotransmitter Molecules Neurotransmitters can be broadly split into two groups – the ‘classical’, small molecule neurotransmitters and the relatively larger neuropeptide neurotransmitters. Within the category of small molecule neurotransmitters, the biogenic amines (dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin and histamine) are often referred to as a discrete group because of their similarity in terms of their chemical properties.