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 ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Synaptic protein regulates anxiety behaviour

Anxiety disorders are severe mental disorders in which patients suffer from intense fears and anxiety or from sudden, inexplicable panic attacks. In extreme cases, the affected individuals barely leave their homes, which ...

Neuroscience

Synapse 'protection' signal found; helps to refine brain circuits

The developing brain is constantly forming new connections, or synapses, between nerve cells. Many connections are eventually lost, while others are strengthened. In 2012, Beth Stevens, Ph.D. and her lab at Boston Children's ...

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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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