Neuroscience

How memories form and fade

Why is it that you can remember the name of your childhood best friend that you haven't seen in years yet easily forget the name of a person you just met a moment ago? In other words, why are some memories stable over decades, ...

Neuroscience

Brain's astrocytes play starring role in long-term memory

Star-shaped cells called astrocytes help the brain establish long-lasting memories, Salk researchers have discovered. The new work adds to a growing body of evidence that astrocytes, long considered to be merely supportive ...

Neuroscience

New method classifies brain cells based on electrical signals

For decades, neuroscientists have relied on a technique for reading out electrical "spikes" of brain activity in live, behaving subjects that tells them very little about the types of cells they are monitoring. In a new study, ...

Medical research

Scratching the surface of how your brain senses an itch

Light touch plays a critical role in everyday tasks, such as picking up a glass or playing a musical instrument. The sensation is also an essential part of the body's protective defense system, alerting us to objects in our ...

Neuroscience

Brain finds order amidst chaos

How does the brain find order amidst a sea of noise and chaos? Researchers at the EPFL Blue Brain Project have found the answer by using advanced simulation techniques to investigate the way neurons talk to each other. In ...

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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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