News tagged with cerebral cortex

Related topics: brain , neurons , magnetic resonance imaging , brain cells , nerve cells

Long-term memory in the cortex

(Medical Xpress)—'Where' and 'how' memories are encoded in a nervous system is one of the most challenging questions in biological research. The formation and recall of associative memories is essential ...

Aug 27, 2013
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How visual attention affects the brain

New work at the University of California, Davis, shows for the first time how visual attention affects activity in specific brain cells. The paper, published June 26 in the journal Nature, shows that attent ...

Jun 26, 2013
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Epilepsy sends differentiated neurons on the run

(Medical Xpress)—The smooth operation of the brain requires a certain robustness to fluctuations in its home within the body. At the same time, its extraordinary power derives from an activity structure ...

Mar 29, 2013
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Some brain cells are better virus fighters

(Medical Xpress)—Viruses often spread through the brain in patchwork patterns, infecting some cells but missing others. New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis helps explain ...

Mar 07, 2013
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Cerebral cortex

The cerebral cortex is a structure within the brain that plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language, and consciousness. It constitutes the outermost layer of the cerebrum. In preserved brains, it has a grey color, hence the name "grey matter". Grey matter is formed by neurons and their unmyelinated fibers, whereas the white matter below the grey matter of the cortex is formed predominantly by myelinated axons interconnecting different regions of the central nervous system. The human cerebral cortex is 2–4 mm (0.08–0.16 inches) thick.

The surface of the cerebral cortex is folded in large mammals, such that more than two-thirds of the cortical surface is buried in the grooves, called "sulci." The phylogenetically most recent part of the cerebral cortex, the neocortex, also called isocortex, is differentiated into six horizontal layers; the more ancient part of the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus (also called archicortex), has at most three cellular layers, and is divided into subfields. Relative variations in thickness or cell type (among other parameters) allow us to distinguish between different neocortical architectonic fields. The geometry of at least some of these fields seems to be related to the anatomy of the cortical folds, and, for example, layers in the upper part of the cortical ridges (called gyri) seem to be more clearly differentiated than in its deeper parts.

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