Neuroscience

Long-term learning requires new nerve insulation

Most memories fade in a matter of days or weeks, while some persist for months, years, or even for life. What allows certain experiences to leave such a long-lasting imprint in our neural circuits? This is an age-old question ...

Neuroscience

The highways of our brain

Researchers from the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (NIN) used a new technique to show how electrical impulses are traveling at high speed in the brain. It appears that myelin, the sheath around neurons, creates a ...

Neuroscience

A molecular switch for repairing central nervous system disorders

A molecular switch has the ability to turn on a substance in animals that repairs neurological damage in disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS), Mayo Clinic researchers discovered. The early research in animal models could ...

Medical research

Do children's brains really get thinner?

The brains of young children get thinner as they grow. At least that's what scientists used to believe. For decades, the debate has been about how and why that happens. Now, an international collaboration of leading neuroscientists ...

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Myelin

Myelin is a dielectric (electrically insulating) material that forms a layer, the myelin sheath, usually around only the axon of a neuron. It is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Myelin is an outgrowth of a type of glial cell. The production of the myelin sheath is called myelination. In humans, the production of myelin begins in the fourteenth week of fetal development, although little myelin exists in the brain at the time of birth. During infancy, myelination occurs quickly and continues through the adolescent stages of life.

Schwann cells supply the myelin for peripheral neurons, whereas oligodendrocytes, specifically of the interfascicular type, myelinate the axons of the central nervous system. Myelin is considered a defining characteristic of the (gnathostome) vertebrates, but myelin-like sheaths have also arisen by parallel evolution in some invertebrates, although they are quite different from vertebrate myelin at the molecular level. Myelin was discovered in 1854 by Rudolf Virchow.

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