The study of the structure and function of the nervous system and its components.

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Why is saltatory conduction faster than continuous conduction?

How does spacing apart sodium and potassium channels allow the action potential to travel faster down the axon? This is the reason always cited for saltatory conduction and myelination, but my mental ...
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How does this illusion work?

I found this image on Google+ If you shake your head you can see a portrait of a person. Can anyone explain how the image is constructed in the brain?
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Systems identification in small neural network

When analyzing data from cortex, we often try to understand what each neuron does in terms of its inputs from other neurons - a specific kind of a systems identification strategy. Most current ...
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171 views

How can action potentials be generated through thoughts?

I think I understand how a signal is transferred from neuron to neuron (from How do the brain and nerves create electrical pulses?). My question, however, is not about the standard textbook material ...
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Why can't neurons undergo cell division?

Many cells in the human body can divide and reproduce, making healing possible. Neurons, however, cannot reproduce, which makes diseases affecting the brain particularly crippling. Why can't neurons ...
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Is it possible for any animals today to have more than one brain?

Is it possible for any organisms in the animal kingdom to have more than one brain?
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What is a inhibitory tone when talking about neurons?

In this SE answer: Could an "overactive" brain increase the chances of Alzheimer's Disease? user @nico used the word inhibitory tone What does that ...
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Are Schwann cells the sole source of myelination in PNS?

Are Schwann cells the only source of myelin for axons in the peripheral nervous system, or are there other neuroglia or other processes that result in myelination of PNS axons?
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136 views

Can people with paralyzed eye muscles see?

As far as I am aware, the saccades of the eye are central to visual perception. If the eye is held still, the human stops seeing, even if light is reaching the retina and the visual pathway is intact. ...
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Which part of the brain needs to be shut down to lose conciousness?

Whether it is mechanical (trauma), chemical (anaesthesia) or electrical - which part of the brain is shut down to cause loss of consciousness?
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Can we disambiguate competing molecular mechanisms of learning and plasticity by measuring electrical activity of neurons?

I have been reading with fascination about the several molecular- and cellular-scale mechanisms and structural changes that underlie what we refer to as long-term plasticity. For instance, [1], [2], ...
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140 views

Is there a biophysical causation from local field potential (LFP) to spikes?

Many experiments showed that neurons tend to fire at some phase (usually trough) of local field potential (LFP) oscillations, such as theta or gamma rhythm. LFP is supposedly generated by a population ...
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Which brain regions are D1 dopamine receptors expressed, and which brain regions are D2 dopamine receptors expressed?

This is a follow-up question to If D1 receptors stimulate adenylate cyclase (through GPCRs) and D2 receptors inhibit it, then why do mutations in both have similar effects?. As a further question - ...
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Is there any way a human could whistle and be unable to speak?

Is there any situation anatomically, where a human could understand the speech of others perfectly, without any capabilities of speech themselves, but would retain the ability to whistle with a tune? ...
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234 views

Single long axon vs serial neurons

Based on the comments in this post and also this chat. For discussions and speculations please comment in the chat. The basic question is what is the advantage of having a single long axon such as ...
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169 views

Why are melodies/harmonies perceived as pleasurable by humans?

Is there any evolutionary advantage to finding melodies or harmonies pleasurable? Does the ear pick up these particular oscillating waves differently from other sounds, and if so, how does that affect ...
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410 views

Long-term-potentiation and memory. Where do we stand?

I was reading the answers to the question: How and where, in the human brain, are memories stored? and, as expected, LTP and LTD came out. Every time I read about LTP/LTD there is always something ...
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If my brain lost all of its activity for a moment, would my memory be gone too?

I can't remember which question it was, but in the past here, it was explained to me that memory is actively stored in the brain, rather than "physically". Meaning, memories are made up of the brain's ...
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74 views

What processes are responsible for focusing on an image only seen by one of the eyes?

When a person is spying from around a corner with only one eye, it's rather easy to ignore the other eye's image, since it's probably much darker, because one usually spies around a corner standing ...
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211 views

Is the squid giant axon the fastest conducting unmyelinated axon known?

The conduction velocity of the squid giant axon can reach 30 m/s. Is there any known example of an even faster conducting unmyelinated axons?
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68 views

Can we change our dopamine baseline levels?

Can we change our dopamine baseline levels? High dopamine levels improve alertness, problem solving, but may also cause anxiety and aggression. I've read that smiling and laughing, eating certain ...
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757 views

Why does it hurt more when you touch a nerve directly?

I am not a biologist nor know much about biology (so please explain in layman's terms) however I have always been curious as to why this is. What causes the difference in pain between touching an ...
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121 views

Neuroendocrinal mechanism of parturition

My book reads, "The fetus signals that it is mature by secreting certain hormones that diffuse across the placenta into mother's blood and cause the secretion of oxytocin from her posterior ...
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How well does it actually work to surgically reroute the optical nerve?

Two publications, Roe et al, 1992[1] and Metin & Frost, 1989[2], describe results pertaining to the ability of a region of cortex to process information from a different sensory mode than the one ...
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Can the human brain be reduced to a binary system?

Does the brain really function like a computer as in, ultimately every response is related to a binary sequence based on whether particular neurons fire or not?
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What alternatives are there to the amyloid hypothesis?

Given the recent failure of the Bapi clinical trial, there is a lot of questions that have arised from he amyloid hypothesis. However, I can't really think of many other mechanisms that don't involved ...
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How does an inhibitory synapse communicate to the cell body of a neuron?

I picture a neuron as having multiple trees of dendrites attached to the cell body with a single axon leaving the cell body. I believe the cell body near the axon root makes the decision to fire or ...
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Dark veil when getting up too fast

I was asking myself this weird question. When you get up or stand up too fast, sometimes, you see something like a dark veil, and you aren't able to see anything distinctly for 2 or 3 seconds, then ...
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Lumosity.com? Is it based on science?

I always see these Lumosity adds on TV, and I personally feel they are just trying to "sell me something". I did some layman's research(wikipedia) and read that "Studies of Lumosity's effectiveness ...
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Is there a correlation between total neurons and intelligence?

Thanks for looking. First off, I am not a biologist, just a curious layman, so I apologize in advance if this isn't a "good" question. Please don't downvote me into oblivion. I read today that the ...
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111 views

What is the mechanism behind tinnitus?

I seem to have come across two contrasting explanations for tinnitus induced by loud noises- i.e. damage to the hair cells in the cochlea. On the one hand, I have read that damage to the hair cells ...
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How does a pinched nerve cause pain (at the molecular level)?

Is this due to pressure differentials in the surrounding tissue? (Is it possible to have a pinched nerve without compression of the surrounding tissues, and does this cause pain?) What are the ...
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874 views

Cat purring: What are some possible underlying mechanisms behind purring and bone remodeling and formation?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-cats-purr The article above says that cats purr mostly when they're wounded or under duress. They hypothesis that cats purring leads to ...
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Can one dendrite pass through another?

While tracing dendrites on EyeWire I encountered the following situation. They belong to an Orientation Selective Ganglion Cell. It's the first dendrite I've noticed with such a clear 'hole' in it, ...
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Soma-soma paired neurons

I'm reading this paper for a presentation I have to do. Since I have no real biology background I encountered a few questions and one I couldn't find an answer using my google-fu. It's about how ...
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119 views

Can rapid eye blinking induce epileptic seizures?

Photosensitive epilepsies are characterized by visually-induced seizures. Flashing-light stimuli are known to induce seizures in some (but not all) patients. My question is whether people with this ...
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What features cause mechano sensory adaptation?

In relation to mechanoreceptors (e.g. pacinian corpuscles), what stops a constant stimulus from producing action potentials? I understand that adaption is used to filter out stimuli that aren't ...
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Why is the Patellar reflex not triggered when the tendon is extended slowly?

I have been previously told that the Patellar reflex (knee-jerk-reaction) exists to prevent the hyper-extension of the patellar tendon. Yet if the impact to the tendon is delivered slowly - i.e. by ...
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Is it possible for a human to wake up in a wrong way?

There's an old folk saying that goes like "He got out of bed on a wrong foot" - to indicate that the person's day is going poorly because of the way that person woke up. Is it is possible for a human ...
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Can a single axon propagate multiple simultaneous action potentials?

I have not been able to locate any research that indicates whether a single axon of a neuron or nerve cell can conduct multiple simultaneous (i.e. spatially separate) action potentials. I am aware ...
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216 views

Refractory period in action potential

I know that the part E in this graph is definitely the part of refractory period. My question : Will there be any effect on B,C or D if a stimulus is given at time B,CorD respectively ?
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What causes Paresthesia (Pins and Needles) at a cellular level?

I've looked it up in plenty of places like the Wikipedia page and such, and it is clear that the most common cause of Paresthesia is either a fair amount of pressure on a specific patch of skin ...
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167 views

What is the limit of time resolution in fMRI?

I was reading about a few studies on estimating functional connectivity between brain areas using fMRI signals. However, as far as I know that fMRI has a very poor time resolution, roughly in the ...
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284 views

Are cerebellar basket and stellate neurons actually different cell types?

The title more or less says it all, but to contextualise a bit: Cerebellar molecular layer interneurons have been classified, probably since Cajal, into the basket cells, which synapse onto the soma ...
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Neuronal coordinates of C.elegans

Is there a list of neural coordinates for C.elegans? I need it to build a 3D model. Update: What is available at the moment is: full connectome for example, at openconnectome; neuron description ...
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Behavioral change in dolphins during different hemispheres activity periods?

It is known that dolphins never sleep in the sense that we do, instead they have one hemisphere of the brain sleeping while the other one is awake. I wonder, do they show observable changes in ...
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Why did the Brain develop in the front in most organisms?

I was wondering: why most, well, pretty much all organism with a brain have it right in front of their bodies or at the top.
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Pharmacologically, can tricyclic antidepressants have a side-effect profile similar to neuroleptics?

Torticollis (wryneck, cervical dystonia) is a neurologic movement disorder causing involuntary muscle spasms in the neck. Often, neuroleptics can cause such a side effect. I'm wondering if this ...
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387 views

Does a neuron ever generate an action potential without stimuli?

Most accounts I read involving action potentials and synapses and the like tend to focus mostly on the action potential as a mere automatic reaction to another similar event happening upstream. From ...
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Is brain transplantation possible?

Many organs can be transplanted nowadays, including the liver, lungs and kidneys. Can the brain be transplanted?