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Posts Tagged "neurons"

Brainwaves

To Combat Alzheimer’s, Scientists Genetically Reprogram 1 Kind of Brain Cell into Another

We all lose brain cells as we get older. In people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s, neurons shrivel and die at alarming rates—perhaps three to four times faster than usual in Alzheimer’s, for example. Currently, no known drugs reliably halt or reverse such staggering cell death in people, although some drugs [...]

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Brainwaves

Know Your Neurons: What Is the Ratio of Glia to Neurons in the Brain?

Previously, on Know Your Neurons: Chapter 1: The Discovery and Naming of the Neuron Chapter 2: How to Classify Different Types of Neurons Chapter 3: Meet the Glia Chapter 4: What is the Ratio of Glia to Neurons in the Brain? By Daisy Yuhas and Ferris Jabr Last time on Know Your Neurons, we talked [...]

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Brainwaves

Know Your Neurons: How to Classify Different Types of Neurons in the Brain’s Forest

illustrations-of-neurons

Previously, on Know Your Neurons: Chapter 1: The Discovery and Naming of the Neuron Chapter 2: How to Classify Different Types of Neurons, or The Dendrology of the Neuron Forest Scientists have organized the cells that make up the nervous system into two broad groups: neurons, which are the primary signaling cells, and glia, which [...]

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Brainwaves

Know Your Neurons: The Discovery and Naming of the Neuron

selection-of-neuron-types

Over the years, I have taught my copy of Microsoft Word a lot of neuroscience terminology: amygdala, corpus callosum, dendritic spines, voxel. But it always knew what neuron meant. I thought I did too. Neurons—the electrically excitable cells that make up the brain and nervous system—first fascinated me in high school. In college, like so [...]

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Guest Blog

Glia: The new frontier in brain science

astrocytes

The current issue of the journal Science (November 5) marks a turning point in research on the brain. This event is fascinating not only for the wealth of new information about how the brain functions and how it fails in mental and neurological illness, but equally as a rare display of a field of science [...]

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Observations

Searching for the Onset of Autism

Diffusion Tensor Image of Brain at Risk for Autism

Early behavioral intervention has shown some promise as a way to help children with autism. But it’s difficult to see the hallmarks of autism before two years of age with today’s diagnostic criteria. Could we find other methods? Seeking to answer that question is Jed Elison at the California Institute of Technology, who is working [...]

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Observations

Spine Tuning: Finding Physical Evidence of How Practice Rewires the Brain

all-star-shoelaces

In kindergarten, several of my friends and I were very serious about learning to tie our shoes. I remember sitting on the edge of the playground, looping laces into bunny ears and twisting them into a knot over and over again until I had it just right. A few years later, whistling became my new [...]

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Observations

Cell phone emissions change brain metabolism

man on cell phone, brain activity metabolism change

Cell phones have not been convincingly linked to brain cancer, but that doesn’t mean that their associated radiation has no effect on our bodies. A new study shows that these pervasive devices can alter the brain’s glucose metabolism, a marker of neuronal activity. The findings will be published in the February 23 issue of JAMA, [...]

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Observations

Does diabetes hamper cognitive function by lowering the brain’s cholesterol?

diabetes could change cholesterol in brain

Low cholesterol is generally a good thing. But decreasing the amount of low-density lipoprotein—LDL, the "bad cholesterol"—is only one part of the body’s equation for a healthy balance of lipids. And although lowering cholesterol can be good for the heart, it’s not always great for the brain, which contains about a quarter of the body’s [...]

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Observations

Plants cannot “think and remember,” but there’s nothing stupid about them: They’re shockingly sophisticated

New research shows that plants "can think and remember," according to a news story published this week. Plants can transmit information "from leaf to leaf in a very similar way to our own nervous systems," BBC News wrote. The article continues to assert that plants remember information and use "information encrypted in the light to [...]

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Observations

New evidence that fMRI experiments are valid measure of neuron activity

fmri brain scan validation stimulation region brain activity

Among the more than a quarter of a million published functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies are assays that have purported to locate our mental experiences of religion, love and even the future in the brain. Recently, researchers even investigated the reliability of the scans to find out whether they should hold up in court [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopus Arms, Human Tongues Intertwine for Science

octopus arms

Unless you’ve eaten sannakji, the Korean specialty of semi-live octopus, you might never have had a squirming octopus arm in your mouth. But you’ve most likely had a very similar experience. In fact, you’re probably having one right now. Octopus arms might seem strange and mysterious, but they are remarkably similar to the human tongue. [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

How a Video Game Can Help Us Understand What It’s Like to Be an Octopus [Video]

octodad

You have one brain. Which controls two jointed arms. And ten jointed fingers. All of which are going to have a very hard time keeping up with the protagonist in the new video game Octodad: Dadliest Catch. In this game (out January 2014), which is a sequel to the freebie Octodad, players must command a [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopuses Reveal First RNA Editing in Response to Environment

common octopus

Without genetic change we’d be nowhere—well perhaps just unicellular blobs kicking around in ponds. Alterations in DNA, such as point mutations, duplications, rearrangements and insertions from microbial neighbors, have helped humans and our deep-time ancestors climb out of the swamps and, in our case at least, start swimming in backyard pools. But these basic tools [...]

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Talking back

Neuroplasticity: New Clues to Just How Much the Adult Brain Can Change

Popular neuroscience books have made much in recent years of the possibility that the adult brain is capable of restoring lost function or even enhancing cognition through sustained mental or physical activities. One piece of evidence often cited is a 14-year-old study that that shows that London taxi drivers have enlarged hippocampi, brain areas that [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Mathematics, Cities, and Brains: What Can A Highway Engineer Learn From A Neuroscientist?

At their most fundamental level, brains are made up of neurons. And those neurons collectively comprise the two main types of brain tissue: white matter is made up primarily of axons, and grey matter is made up of synapses, or the connections between neurons. (Want a primer on the neuron? Check out this explainer post [...]

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