Neuroscience

When unconscious, the brain is anything but 'silent'

The cerebral cortex is thought to be the seat of conscious processing in the brain. Rather than being inactivated, specific cells in the cortex show higher spontaneous activity during general anesthesia than when awake, and ...

Neuroscience

Key protein identified for brain stem cell longevity

A receptor that was first identified as necessary for insulin action, that also is located on the neural stem cells found deep in the brains of mice, is pivotal for brain stem cell longevity, according to a Rutgers study, ...

Neuroscience

When eyes meet, neurons start to fire

Their eyes met across a crowded dance floor, causing specialized neurons to begin firing in multiple regions of both brains that are tasked with deriving meaning from a social gaze.

Genetics

Study offers new insights on gene activity and addiction

Researchers at North Carolina State University have demonstrated that neuron-like cells derived from human stem cells can serve as a model for studying changes in the nervous system associated with addiction. The work sheds ...

Neuroscience

Neural pathway key to sensation of pleasant touch identified

Studying mice, scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a neural circuit and a neuropeptide—a chemical messenger that carries signals between nerve cells—that transmit the sensation ...

Neuroscience

Zeroing in on a new treatment for autism and epilepsy

Children with Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy that begins in infancy, experience seizures, usually for their entire life. They are at high risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) and can also develop ...

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Neuron

A neuron (pronounced /ˈnjʊərɒn/ N(Y)OOR-on, also known as a neurone or nerve cell) is an excitable cell in the nervous system that processes and transmits information by electrochemical signalling. Neurons are the core components of the brain, the vertebrate spinal cord, the invertebrate ventral nerve cord, and the peripheral nerves. A number of specialized types of neurons exist: sensory neurons respond to touch, sound, light and numerous other stimuli affecting cells of the sensory organs that then send signals to the spinal cord and brain. Motor neurons receive signals from the brain and spinal cord and cause muscle contractions and affect glands. Interneurons connect neurons to other neurons within the same region of the brain or spinal cord. Neurons respond to stimuli, and communicate the presence of stimuli to the central nervous system, which processes that information and sends responses to other parts of the body for action. Neurons do not go through mitosis, and usually cannot be replaced after being destroyed, although astrocytes have been observed to turn into neurons as they are sometimes pluripotent.

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