Neuroscience

Had enough water? Brain's thirst centers make a gut check

Water bottles are everywhere these days, along with all kinds of advice about exactly how much water you should be drinking. But how does your brain actually know when you've had enough and can stop feeling thirsty? A new ...

Neuroscience

Neuroscientists now can read the mind of a fly

Northwestern University neuroscientists now can read the mind of a fly. They have developed a clever new tool that lights up active conversations between neurons during a behavior or sensory experience, such as smelling a ...

Inflammatory disorders

Study reveals nervous system's role in asthma attacks

(Medical Xpress)—Asthma is a debilitating condition that kills 250,000 people around the world each year. People with asthma have hyperreactive airways and thickened lung walls obstructed with mucus. During an asthma attack, ...

Medical research

Bacteria make us feel pain... and suppress our immune response

The pain of invasive skin infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and possibly other serious, painful infections, appear to be induced by the invading bacteria themselves, and not by the body's immune ...

Neuroscience

Efficient signal transmission at sensory system synapses

(Medical Xpress)—Neurophysiologist like to think of neurons as communicating with spikes. If that were the whole story, it might be possible to imagine spike codes which could then be used to estimate the flow of information, ...

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Sensory neuron

Sensory neurons are neurons that are activated by sensory input (vision, touch, hearing, etc.), and send projections into the central nervous system that convey sensory information to the brain or spinal cord. Unlike neurons of the central nervous system, whose inputs come from other neurons, sensory neurons are activated by physical modalities such as light, sound, temperature, chemical stimulation, etc.

In complex organisms, sensory neurons relay their information to the central nervous system or in less complex organisms, such as the hydra, directly to motor neurons and sensory neurons also transmit information (electrical impulses) to the brain, where it can be further processed and acted upon. For example, olfactory sensory neurons make synapses with neurons of the olfactory bulb, where the sense of olfaction (smell) is processed.

At the molecular level, sensory receptors located on the cell membrane of sensory neurons are responsible for the conversion of stimuli into electrical impulses. The type of receptor employed by a given sensory neuron determines the type of stimulus it will be sensitive to. For example, neurons containing mechanoreceptors are sensitive to tactile stimuli, while olfactory receptors make a cell sensitive to odors.

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