The Brain

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The Brain in Nature magazine

Articles on the Brain in New Scientist. The Brain in Discover magazine. The Brain in MIT Technology Review. Articles on the Brain in the Daily Mail. Brain Notes. Human brain. The human brain has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals, but has a more developed cortex than any other.

Human brain

Large animals such as whales and elephants have larger brains in absolute terms, but when measured using the encephalization quotient which compensates for body size, the human brain is almost twice as large as the brain of the bottlenose dolphin, and three times as large as the brain of a chimpanzee. Much of the expansion comes from the part of the brain called the cerebral cortex, especially the frontal lobes, which are associated with executive functions such as self-control, planning, reasoning, and abstract thought. The portion of the cerebral cortex devoted to vision is also greatly enlarged in humans. The human cerebral cortex is a thick layer of neural tissue that covers most of the brain. This layer is folded in a way that increases the amount of surface that can fit into the volume available. Brain: Multiple contacts are key to synapse formation. Multiple synaptic contacts between nerve cells facilitate the creation of a new contact, as neuroscientists from the Bernstein Center Freiburg and the Forschungszentrum Jülich report in the latest issue of the journal PLoS Computational Biology.

Brain: Multiple contacts are key to synapse formation

An integral mechanism of memory foundation is the formation of additional contacts between neurons in the brain. However, until now it was not known what conditions lead to the development of such synapses and how they are stabilized once created. By studying mathematical models, the scientists found a simple explanation for how and when synapses form -- or disappear -- in the brain. The scientists investigated the hypothesis that synapses between nerve cells strengthen if they are active in quick succession. New regulator discovered for information transfer in the brain. The protein mSYD1 has a key function in transmitting information between neurons.

New regulator discovered for information transfer in the brain

This was recently discovered by the research group of Prof Peter Scheiffele at the Biozentrum, University of Basel. The findings of the investigations have been published in the scientific journal Neuron. Synapses are the most important sites of information transfer between neurons. The functioning of our brain is based on the ability of the synapses to release neurotransmitter substances in a fraction of a second, so that neuronal signals can be rapidly propagated and integrated. Communication problems in the brain. For brain cells to communicate, the contacts to each other must function.

Communication problems in the brain

The protein molecule neuroligin-1 plays an important role in this as it stimulates the necessary maturation processes at the contact sites (synapses) of the nerves. A synaptic maturation disorder is possibly involved in the development of autism. Dr. Thomas Dresbach and his team from the Institute for Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Heidelberg, in cooperation with the study group led by Professor Dr.

The Whole Brain Atlas. 10 Things You Didn't Know About the Brain. Author Bio Stephanie Pappas Stephanie interned as a science writer at Stanford University Medical School, and also interned at ScienceNow magazine and The Santa Cruz Sentinel.

10 Things You Didn't Know About the Brain

She has a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what her latest project is, you can follow Stephanie on Google+. Stephanie Pappas on. Neil Burgess: How your brain tells you where you are. Neil Burgess Neil Burgess is deputy director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, where he investigates of the role of the hippocampus in spatial navigation and episodic memory.

Neil Burgess: How your brain tells you where you are

His research is directed at answering questions such as: How are locations represented, stored and used in the brain? Explore the Brain and Mind - BrainFacts.org. Mapping the Brain. The cerebrum is divided into two hemispheres — the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere.

Mapping the Brain

Bridging the two hemispheres is a bundle of fibers called the corpus callosum. The two hemispheres communicate with one another across the corpus callosum. Covering the outermost layer of the cerebrum is a sheet of tissue called the cerebral cortex. Because of its gray color, the cerebral cortex is often referred to as gray matter.

Nuts and Bolts the neuron. A single neuron may be connected to as many as 200 000 others, via junctions called synapses.

Nuts and Bolts the neuron

They form an extensive network throughout the body, and can transmit signals at speeds of 100 metres per second. This enables animals to process and respond to events rapidly, for example by carrying sensory information from the ears to the brain, then instructions for movement from the brain to the leg muscles Within a neuron, signals are transmitted by a change of membrane voltage – a variation in the difference in electrical charge between the inside and outside of the cell. This electrical signal moves along the neuron as an electrical pulse (the ‘action potential’). The nature of the connection between neurons was hotly debated until early-20th-century experiments by Otto Loewi and Sir Henry Dale (a founding trustee and chairman of the Wellcome Trust) showed that signals are typically transmitted across synapses by chemicals called neurotransmitters. Induction: The Making of a Neuron. Even more astonishing is that this process takes place as the embryo is developing.

Induction: The Making of a Neuron

Induction and proliferation are followed by migration, during which the newly formed neurons travel to their final destination. Throughout life, the nervous system is active, making new connections and fine-tuning the way messages are sent and received. During the early stages of embryonic development, three layers emerge — the endoderm, the ectoderm, and the mesoderm.

These layers undergo many interactions to grow into organ, bone, muscle, skin, or nerve tissue. Neurons: A Curious Collection of Shapes and Sizes. Like blood, liver, muscle, and other body cells, neurons have an outer membrane, a nucleus, and smaller structures called organelles that perform important functions.

Neurons: A Curious Collection of Shapes and Sizes

But neurons also have something other cells don’t: highly complex extensions called dendrites and axons that transport electrical and chemical messages in and out of the cell, enabling neurons to communicate with one another with incredible speed and precision. The intricate branches, or arbors, of these extensions are what give neurons their beautifully strange and varied shapes. Dendrite arbors, for example, make some neurons look like sea coral, others like spider webs, and still others like round balls of tumbleweed. Axonal arbors are equally diverse. Neuron Conversations: How Brain Cells Communicate. Nerve impulses involve the opening and closing of ion channels.

These are selectively permeable, water-filled molecular tunnels that pass through the cell membrane and allow ions — electrically charged atoms — or small molecules to enter or leave the cell. The flow of ions creates an electrical current that produces tiny voltage changes across the neuron’s cell membrane. The ability of a neuron to generate an electrical impulse depends on a difference in charge between the inside and outside of the cell. Neurons and Memory. Whenever I read about someone diagnosed with Alzheimers who apparently goes in and out of the memory problems it makes me wonder how carefully they were diagnosed.

There is a kind of simple partial seizure that mimics Alzheimers called a jamais vu. Sometimes this merely subtracts the sence of familiarity from a situation such that the person feels the people around him are imposters because they don't feel right. Sometimes it subtracts their memory of one element of a situation. One woman having this kind of seizure complained to the bank that her ATM card wasn't working. Mirror Neurons. In the early 1990s, Italian researchers made an astonishing and quite unexpected discovery. They had implanted electrodes in the brains of several macaque monkeys to study the animals’ brain activity during different motor actions, including the clutching of food. One day, as a researcher reached for his own food, he noticed neurons begin to fire in the monkeys’ premotor cortex—the same area that showed activity when the animals made a similar hand movement.

How could this be happening when the monkeys were sitting still and merely watching him? During the ensuing two decades, this serendipitous discovery of mirror neurons—a special class of brain cells that fire not only when an individual performs an action, but also when the individual observes someone else make the same movement—has radically altered the way we think about our brains and ourselves, particularly our social selves. Complexity of single neurons? Physics Forums. Basically, the neuron makes a bunch of oscillations before returning to the resting potential (in the scholarpedia article, notice between eac spike in the burst, the neuron doesn't return to the rest potential. This is only possible with a third dimension, as in 2D the trajectories would intersect (which can't happen in deterministic systems as differential equations model them) An exception to this is the homoclinic orbit, where trajectories come into an equilibrium point on a stable manifold and immediately leave via the unstable manifold, giving a similar appearance to an intersection.

If you look up homoclinic orbit you may see what I mean. Neurotransmitters: How Brain Cells Use Chemicals to Communicate. Every millisecond of every day, a remarkable string of events occurs in the brain: billions of brain cells called neurons transmit signals to each other. And they do it at trillions of junctions called synapses. It is an extremely fast and efficient process — one central to everything the brain does, including learning, memorizing, planning, reasoning, and enabling movement. Glia: the Other Brain Cells. Mystery of the Human Brain's Glia Cells Solved. Mapping Brain Circuits. Brain Evolution: Neurogenomics Targets the Genes That Make Us Human. The Human Brain Atlas at Michigan State University. Did a Copying Mistake Build Man's Brain?

Brain Scans Show Who You're Thinking About. The Invisible Hand Illusion. Brain damage can make people immune to the gambler’s fallacy. Sex or Attachment: Why Do We Fall in Love, Really? By Bonnie Williams. Allen Brain Atlas: Human Brain. Debunked: Memory-Molecule Theory. Scientists Cast Light Onto Roots of Illness Deep in the Brain. Spurious Positive Mapping of the Brain? Brain scan breakthrough show researches just what you're thinking about and could lead to treatment for disorders like autism. How to Make Your Own Evil Twin.

Researchers map Phineas Gage's pierced brain. How the Brain Creates and Uses Personality Models to Predict Behavior. The brain's emergency response call. Vaughan Bell: the trouble with brain scans. Brain Not Required For Antidepressant To Act. Brain Cells Know Which Way You'll Bet. A surprise makes memories wobbly. Brainbow: See the brain in different lights. Paralyzed Patient Swills Coffee by Issuing Thought Commands to a Robot. Been Thinking of Somebody? Brain Researchers Know Who. Neurons never forget a face. The Brain May Disassemble Itself in Sleep. Is There a Difference between the Brain of an Atheist and the Brain of a Religious Person? Why is it Impossible to Stop Thinking, to Render the Mind a Complete Blank? Buff Your Brain. The Split Brain Experiments : Games from Nobelprize.org. Brain and Behavior Student Site.

Why we forget. Slacker or go-getter? Brain chemical may tell. Solving the 'Cocktail Party Problem'