Medical research

Stem cells grow fully functional new teeth

(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers from Japan recently published a paper in PLoS One describing their successful growth and transplantation of new teeth created from the stem cells of mice.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Fibromyalgia is not all in your head, new research confirms

Fibromyalgia, a painful condition affecting approximately 10 million people in the U.S., is not imaginary after all, as some doctors have believed. A discovery, published this month in Pain Medicine/i> (the journal of the ...

Neuroscience

Extensive regeneration in nerve connecting eye to brain achieved

Damage to the optic nerve, connecting the eye with the brain, is a major cause of blindness. The most common culprit is glaucoma, estimated to affect more than 4 million Americans. There is currently no way to restore the ...

Medications

Common cough medicine may help treat multiple sclerosis

(Medical Xpress) -- A drug widely used in over-the-counter cough medicines appears to protect against symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a finding that could offer a new and inexpensive therapy for a condition with few effective ...

Neuroscience

How multiple sclerosis can be triggered by brain cell death

Multiple sclerosis (MS) may be triggered by the death of brain cells that make the insulation around nerve fibers, a surprising new view of the disease reported in a study from Northwestern Medicine and The University of ...

Neuroscience

Drug 'cocktail' could restore vision in optic nerve injury

Research from Boston Children's Hospital suggests the possibility of restoring at least some visual function in people blinded by optic nerve damage from glaucoma, estimated to affect more than 4 million Americans, or from ...

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Axon

An axon or nerve fiber is a long, slender projection of a nerve cell, or neuron, that conducts electrical impulses away from the neuron's cell body or soma.

An axon is one of two types of protoplasmic protrusions that extrude from the cell body of a neuron, the other type being dendrites. Axons are distinguished from dendrites by several features, including shape (dendrites often taper while axons usually maintain a constant radius), length (dendrites are restricted to a small region around the cell body while axons can be much longer), and function (dendrites usually receive signals while axons usually transmit them). All of these rules have exceptions, however.

Some types of neurons have no axon—these are called amacrine cells, and transmit signals from their dendrites. No neuron ever has more than one axon; however in invertebrates such as insects the axon sometimes consists of several regions that function more or less independently of each other. Most axons branch, in some cases very profusely.

Axons make contact with other cells—usually other neurons but sometimes muscle or gland cells—at junctions called synapses. At a synapse, the membrane of the axon closely adjoins the membrane of the target cell, and special molecular structures serve to transmit electrical or electrochemical signals across the gap. Some synaptic junctions appear partway along an axon as it extends—these are called en passant ("in passing") synapses. Other synapses appear as terminals at the ends of axonal branches. A single axon, with all its branches taken together, can innervate multiple parts of the brain and generate thousands of synaptic terminals.

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