Genetics

Probe of DNA repeats reveals genetic link to schizophrenia

Researchers at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have found that repeated DNA sequences in the genome may contribute to an individual's risk of developing schizophrenia.

Neuroscience

Uncovering how immune cells nurture brain connections

Microglia, the immune cells of the brain, are known for eating up unwanted items like germs and debris, much as their counterparts do in the rest of the body. In early childhood, certain microglia remove unneeded connections, ...

Neuroscience

Next-generation tissue expansion method improves neural imaging

The glory of tissue expansion technologies is that when structures, such as proteins that build nerve cell connections, are too small for a microscope to resolve, clever chemistry can make everything bigger and easier to ...

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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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