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. When these voltage changes reach the end of an axon, they trigger the release of neurotransmitters, the brain’s chemical messengers. An increased understanding of neurotransmitters in the brain and knowledge of the effects of drugs on these chemicals — gained largely through animal research —comprise one of the largest research efforts in neuroscience.
Neocortex A representative column of neocortex. Cell body layers are labeled on the left, and fiber layers are labeled on the right. Anatomy The neocortex consists of the grey matter, or neuronal cell bodies and unmyelinated fibers, surrounding the deeper white matter (myelinated axons) in the cerebrum. The neurons of the neocortex are also arranged in vertical structures called neocortical columns. The neocortex is derived embryonically from the dorsal telencephalon, which is the rostral part of the forebrain. Evolution The neocortex is the newest part of the cerebral cortex to evolve (hence the prefix "neo"); the other parts of the cerebral cortex are the paleocortex and archicortex, collectively known as the allocortex. The six-layer cortex appears to be a distinguishing feature of mammals; it has been found in the brains of all mammals, but not in any other animals. There is some debate, however, as to the cross-species nomenclature for neocortex. Neocortex ratio
Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners (9781451628258): Michael Erard Encephalization Encephalization is defined as the amount of brain mass related to an animal's total body mass. Quantifying an animal's encephalization has been argued to be directly related to that animal's level of intelligence. Aristotle wrote in 335 B.C. "Of all the animals, man has the brain largest in proportion to his size." Also, in 1871, Charles Darwin wrote in his book The Descent of Man: "No one, I presume, doubts that the large proportion which the size of man's brain bears to his body, compared to the same proportion in the gorilla or orang, is closely connected with his mental powers More encephalized species tend to have longer spinal shock duration. Encephalization may also refer to the tendency for a species toward larger brains through evolutionary time. Encephalization quotient In Snell's equation of simple allometry "E" is the weight of the brain, "C" is the cephalization factor and "S" is body weight and "r" is the exponential constant. Evolution of the EQ
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. New insight into how and why we develop empathy for others. Iacoboni M, Dapretto M.
Lateralization of brain function The human brain is divided into two hemispheres–left and right. Scientists continue to explore how some cognitive functions tend to be dominated by one side or the other; that is, how they are lateralized. The longitudinal fissure separates the human brain into two distinct cerebral hemispheres, connected by the corpus callosum. The hemispheres exhibit strong, but not complete, bilateral symmetry in both structure and function. Broad generalizations are often made in popular psychology about one side or the other having characteristic labels, such as "logical" for the left side or "creative" for the right. The extent of any modularity, or specialization of brain function by area, remains under investigation. Additionally, although some functions are lateralized, these are only a tendency. History of research on lateralization Broca One of the first indications of brain function lateralization resulted from the research of French physician Pierre Paul Broca, in 1861.
Is language the brains operating system? The Blogs at HowStuffWorks So my wife and I were discussing Josh and Chuck’s recent podcast on our culture’s dire need for innovators, teleportation and a universal language. We both agreed on the first count, but were split on the other two. Setting aside the ethical and possibly gene-splicing issues of teleportation, I just couldn’t get behind the idea of a universal language. Recently, I finally got around to reading Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk classic “Snow Crash” and there’s a great deal of interesting stuff in the book about human language as an operating system and how the trend toward divergence in language actually prevents and protects us from widespread harm. If a farmer grows only one crop, then his entire farm is susceptible to devastation from a single parasite. Stephenson makes a case that destructive movements such as Nazism are cultural viruses. It’s an interesting thing to think about, at any rate. Children under the age of four always pick the bag, because they lack theory of mind.
Learnng Styles take your test. click here to take your learning styles test Information about learning styles and Multiple Intelligence (MI) is helpful for everyone especially for people with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder. Knowing your learning style will help you develop coping strategies to compensate for your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths. For ease of use, the page has been divided into six categories: Learning Styles Explained Please Pick a topic: What are learning Styles? What are the types of learning styles? Visual Learners Auditory Learners Kinesthetic Learners What are learning styles? Learning styles are simply different approaches or ways of learning. What are the types of learning styles? Visual Learners: learn through seeing... . These learners need to see the teacher's body language and facial expression to fully understand the content of a lesson. Auditory Learners: learn through listening... Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners: learn through , moving, doing and touching... EditRegion5
Glia: the Other Brain Cells After legendary genius Albert Einstein died in 1955, his brain was removed from his body and placed in a jar of formaldehyde. For the next 30 years, scientists examined small slices of his brain, hoping to uncover clues to the great man’s genius. Most people expected that Einstein’s brain would be larger than average. But it was not. Then, in the late 1980s, a scientist discovered something that was different about Einstein’s brain. Recent research, however, has redirected the spotlight onto glia. A better understanding of how brain cells communicate and process information. One reason why scientists underestimated glia for so long was because they saw no evidence that these cells communicated with each other. Research soon revealed that glial cells were “talking” not only among themselves, but also to neurons. Studies have shown that without glial cells, neurons and their synapses fail to function properly.
Helmuth Nyborg Helmuth Sørensen Nyborg (born 5 January 1937) is a former professor of developmental psychology at Aarhus University, Denmark and Olympic canoeist. His main research topic is the connection between hormones and intelligence. Among other things, he has worked on increasing the intelligence of girls with Turner's syndrome by giving them estrogen. His research has been widely criticized, and in 2007, after having been accused of scientific misconduct, he received a warning from Aarhus University for producing research of unacceptably low quality. Nyborg is a controversial figure among the Danish public for his research on topics such as the inheritance of intelligence and the relationship between sex and intelligence. 2005 controversial paper 2011 "Revolt Against Civilization" Seminar 2011 controversy Olympic Kayaking Nyborg competed as a sprint canoer in the early 1960s. Publications See also Sex and intelligence Notes
In brief Reconstructing the brain piece by piece and building a virtual brain in a supercomputer—these are some of the goals of the Blue Brain Project. The virtual brain will be an exceptional tool giving neuroscientists a new understanding of the brain and a better understanding of neurological diseases. The Blue Brain project began in 2005 with an agreement between the EPFL and IBM, which supplied the BlueGene/L supercomputer acquired by EPFL to build the virtual brain. The computing power needed is considerable. Each simulated neuron requires the equivalent of a laptop computer. A model of the whole brain would have billions. As a first step, the project succeeded in simulating a rat cortical column. Blue Brain is a resounding success. See the Blue Brain Project blog for additional Information
The Superego – Breaking Free Of A False God Breaking free of the superego is absolutely essential for all of us who want to align with wellbeing, joy, love and freedom. Do you know how much of your life force and freedom to move forward is being subconsciously squelched by an internalized "parent"? We can be fooled into thinking that this voice is coming from God / Creator, but it is actually a voice we've made into a false god. This inner voice usually instills fear in us as we venture out of our comfort zones, when we are guided to expand beyond our current view of “reality.” It can come up when you are simply moved to take care of yourself, or when you feel the desire to make more money, expand your horizons, or follow the life path of wellbeing your heart has been guiding you to follow. It is shocking to realize that we may be unconsciously held back by this false god – and the fear it uses to control us – more than any other thing! We need to bring awareness to this part of our psyche so that it isn’t running the show.