Neuroscience

Sleep readies synapses for learning

Synapses in the hippocampus are larger and stronger after sleep deprivation, according to new research in mice published in JNeurosci. Overall, this study supports the idea that sleep may universally weaken synapses that ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Dementia gene linked to connections in brain

Insights into how a gene that increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease disrupts brain cells have been revealed by scientists.

Medical research

Researchers find synapse-boosting factors in young blood

A team of researchers at Stanford University has found synapse-boosting factors in the blood of young mice. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study of the ...

Medical research

Young bone marrow rejuvenates aging mouse brains, study finds

A new study has found that transplanting the bone marrow of young laboratory mice into old mice prevented cognitive decline in the old mice, preserving their memory and learning abilities. The findings support an emerging ...

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Chemical synapse

Chemical synapses are specialized junctions through which neurons signal to each other and to non-neuronal cells such as those in muscles or glands. Chemical synapses allow neurons to form circuits within the central nervous system. They are crucial to the biological computations that underlie perception and thought. They allow the nervous system to connect to and control other systems of the body.

The adult human brain is estimated to contain from 1014 to 5 × 1014 (100-500 trillion) synapses.[citation needed] Each mm3 of cerebral cortex contains roughly a billion of them.

The word "synapse" comes from "synaptein", which Sir Charles Scott Sherrington and colleagues coined from the Greek "syn-" ("together") and "haptein" ("to clasp"). Chemical synapses are not the only type of biological synapse: electrical and immunological synapses also exist. Without a qualifier, however, "synapse" commonly means chemical synapse.

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