Neuroscience

New insights into how the mind influences the body

Neuroscientists at the University of Pittsburgh have identified the neural networks that connect the cerebral cortex to the adrenal medulla, which is responsible for the body's rapid response in stressful situations. These ...

Neuroscience

Touching helps build the sexual brain

Hormones or sexual experience? Which of these is crucial for the onset of puberty? It seems that when rats are touched on their genitals, their brain changes and puberty accelerates. In a new study publishing September 21 ...

Neuroscience

What role does the hippocampus play in memory?

(Medical Xpress)—Meet the hippocampus: A seahorse-shaped structure in the cerebral cortex's medial temporal lobe, it's part of the limbic system, generally believed to be involved in spatial navigation and establishing ...

Neuroscience

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 for an independent ...

Neuroscience

Human neurons continue to migrate after birth, research finds

Researchers at UC San Francisco have discovered a previously unknown mass migration of inhibitory neurons into the brain's frontal cortex during the first few months after birth, revealing a stage of brain development that ...

Neuroscience

To sleep, perchance to forget

The debate in sleep science has gone on for a generation. People and other animals sicken and die if they are deprived of sleep, but why is sleep so essential?

Neuroscience

The neuroscience of autism: New clues for how condition begins

UNC School of Medicine scientists unveiled how a particular gene helps organize the scaffolding of brain cells called radial progenitors necessary for the orderly formation of the brain. Previous studies have shown that this ...

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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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