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

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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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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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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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346 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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204 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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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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911 views

Do snakes get dizzy?

I've seen snakes get twirled around in bags and was just curious if they get dizzy. I have not done any tests because snakes scare me.
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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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911 views

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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96 views

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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100 views

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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75 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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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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192 views

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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120 views

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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201 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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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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How does Sodium Valproate cause neural plasticity

I have been reading a fascinating paper: Valproate reopens critical-period learning of absolute pitch 18 individuals were given Sodium Valproate (VPA) for a fortnight during which they trained on a ...
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68 views

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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852 views

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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156 views

Is warmth/temperature sensed linearly or on a different scale?

I understand that the atmospheric temperature is sensed relative to external body temperature. However, is the sensation of warmth registered linearly, or is it on a logarithmic scale, similar to ...
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625 views

Is there a biological basis to physical attraction?

Is there something encoded within us that makes us attracted to, e.g., someone taller or shorter with blonde or brunette hair with green or blue eyes? Or, is this phenomenon completely based on ...
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414 views

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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51 views

Neuronal Architecture of the Brain

To what extent do brains (e.g. of humans) contain recurrent connections? I am studying artificial neuronal networks and frequently encountered the statement, that recurrent neural networks are ...
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Why do neurons die so fast without oxygen and nutrients?

Some human tissue can survive without oxygen a couple of minutes, even hours. Why are the neurons are so "weak" and depends so much on oxygen and other nutrients and cannot live without them for ...
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386 views

Is it purely the nervous system causing vaginal lubrication (arousal)?

My girlfriend was watching some documentary on TLC about a paralyzed woman getting pregnant. I believe that woman still has some feeling, as she spoke about feeling the effects of a bladder ...
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553 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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Understanding Membrane / Resting Potential from the perspective of ions?

From wikipedia article RESTING potential: "there is no actual measurable charge excess in either side. That occurs because the effect of charge on electrochemical potential is hugely greater than ...
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Density of neurons/cells in the mouse brain

Could someone point out some relevant papers or resources (an online DB maybe?) describing the density of neurons (or, more in general, of cells) in different areas of the mouse brain?
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Task-dependent “reversed” handedness: why use left hand for some tasks? How is it controlled by the brain?

I am right-handed. Which means that when I hammer down a nail, I hold the nail in my left hand, with which I can hold it straight and at a controlled position. This is true in situations where the ...
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189 views

Brain + ethanol experiment suggestions needed

I need to demonstrate the effects of ethanol on a human brain (or other brain with developed telencephalon) in vitro; ideally the effects on vigilance and/or memory. Could you please suggest such an ...
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269 views

First discovery of long-term depression?

LTP was first described by Tim Bliss and Terje Lømo in their paper Long-lasting potentiation of synaptic transmission in the dentate area of the anaesthetized rabbit following stimulation of the ...
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117 views

Latency to audition in human beings?

On average, in a human being with no neurological deficits, how long does it take for a sound which is sensed in the ear to reach the cortex? Which brainstem structures are most responsible for the ...
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128 views

Why does getting certain chemicals in cuts hurt?

More specifically, shampoo. What are the mechanics of detecting a noxious chemical stimulus in terms of which receptors recognise what, how do they do it, and how is this information relayed to the ...
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How do neurons form new connections in brain plasticity?

I've been reading about brain plasticity and how the brain can "rewire" itself. One of the things that is not clear to me - how neurons can establish new connections. Does this rewiring mean that ...
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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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Do adjacent axons in a nerve influence each other?

Suppose I have a nerve fiber consisting of several axons all running in parallel to each other. When an action potential is generated in a certain axon, this will alter the concentration of sodium ...
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115 views

How are synaptic vesicles brought to the synapse?

I'm reading about how synaptobrevin is used to identify synaptic vesicles for tethering near the synaptic cleft. Since neurons have a synapse and dendrites, I'd like to know how exactly the vesicles ...
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Why do neurons have a negative resting potential?

Neurons expend the majority of their energy powering ion pumps to maintain the chemical gradients that power their electrical activity. To have a negative resting potential, neurons leak potassium ...
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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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104 views

Disproportion in cranial nerve innervation?

The cranial nerve innervation is highly disproportionate, as far as humans are concerned. I am not sure of the advantage of being innervated by cranial nerve versus being innervated by a normal ...
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284 views

Why is membrane potential not zero at equilibrium?

For the squid giant axon, the membrane potential computed by the Goldman equation is -60mV. And the Nernst potentials are (the differences between the K+ and the Na+'s Nernst potential and the ...
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82 views

If a non-mammal is starved of oxygen for some time, how long would it take the animal's neurons to die?

This is a follow-up question to Why do neurons die so quickly (relative to other cells) when deprived of oxygen?. I'm particularly interested in the case of reptiles, octopuses, and other ...
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93 views

Why does anxiety cause diarrhea or constipation?

Anxiety sometimes cause diarrhea, sometimes constipation, and sometimes both. It's interesting because it seems their underlying neurophysiology is somehow different. What are underlying physiological ...
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effect of pupil responses on the electroretinogram

The electroretinogram is generally considered to reflect the retinal processing of a light stimulus, typically a photoreceptor response followed by secondary neuronal activity. However, I am wondering ...
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Are these claims of “revolutionising” understanding of human vision and hearing valid?

I've started a hobby machine vision project (and posted some questions to this end on other SE sites) and on a side track, also been looking at relevant research in human vision (and partly, hearing). ...
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What is the function of nodes of Ranvier in axons?

In a neuroscience class I'm taking, it was explained that myelin covers axons in sections, the uncovered sections are called nodes of Ranvier, and signals propagate much faster in the covered ...
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Is (Brain Mass)/(Total Mass) still considered a valid indicator of intelligence?

I was reading this(1) and it led me back to ask a very basic question (I'm not a neuroscientist). All the way back to undergrad anthropology and neuroscience courses I remember being taught the ...
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137 views

What protocol does the nervous system use?

I just read How does an inhibitory synapse communicate to the cell body of a neuron? and found myself asking this question ... hopefully I'm not asking the same thing Any body possessed of a nervous ...
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Hebbian theory “fire together” clarification

Donald Hebb states it as follows: "Let us assume that the persistence or repetition of a reverberatory activity (or "trace") tends to induce lasting cellular changes that add to its stability.… ...