News tagged with brain

Related topics: neurons · brain activity · brain regions · brain cells · nerve cells

Researchers build a digital piece of brain

If you want to learn how something works, one strategy is to take it apart and put it back together again. For 10 years, a global initiative called the Blue Brain Project—hosted at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne ...

Oct 08, 2015
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Groundbreaking discovery for major trauma patients

Researchers from the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre (ANZIC-RC) in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (SPHPM) at Monash University presented significant research findings on traumatic ...

Oct 08, 2015
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Breakthrough for electrode implants in the brain

For nearly nine years, researchers at Lund University have been working on developing implantable electrodes that can capture signals from single neurons in the brain over a long period of time - without causing brain tissue ...

Oct 08, 2015
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Protecting newborn brains using hypothermia

A unique study at Children's Hospital Los Angeles of newborns treated with hypothermia for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) - a condition that occurs when the brain is deprived of an adequate oxygen supply - confirms ...

Oct 08, 2015
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The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate, and most invertebrate, animals. Some primitive animals such as jellyfish and starfish have a decentralized nervous system without a brain, while sponges lack any nervous system at all. In vertebrates, the brain is located in the head, protected by the skull and close to the primary sensory apparatus of vision, hearing, balance, taste, and smell.

Brains can be extremely complex. The cerebral cortex of the human brain contains roughly 15-33 billion neurons depending on gender and age, linked with up to 10,000 synaptic connections each. Each cubic millimeter of cerebral cortex contains roughly one billion synapses. These neurons communicate with one another by means of long protoplasmic fibers called axons, which carry trains of signal pulses called action potentials to distant parts of the brain or body and target them to specific recipient cells.

The most important biological function of the brain is to generate behaviors that promote the welfare of an animal. Brains control behavior either by activating muscles, or by causing secretion of chemicals such as hormones. Even single-celled organisms may be capable of extracting information from the environment and acting in response to it. Sponges, which lack a central nervous system, are capable of coordinated body contractions and even locomotion. In vertebrates, the spinal cord by itself contains neural circuitry capable of generating reflex responses as well as simple motor patterns such as swimming or walking. However, sophisticated control of behavior on the basis of complex sensory input requires the information-integrating capabilities of a centralized brain.

Despite rapid scientific progress, much about how brains work remains a mystery. The operations of individual neurons and synapses are now understood in considerable detail, but the way they cooperate in ensembles of thousands or millions has been very difficult to decipher. Methods of observation such as EEG recording and functional brain imaging tell us that brain operations are highly organized, but these methods do not have the resolution to reveal the activity of individual neurons.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA

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