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

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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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258 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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257 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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What are the advantages and disadvantages of being ambidextrous?

Most of us have one dominant hand. We find it nigh on impossible to do very delicate or dextrous activities with our other-hand. This seems like an apparent weakness, and a rather odd one when you ...
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161 views

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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336 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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At what point during an action potential are the sodium potassium pumps working?

I'm trying to understand how all of the potentials during an action potential are created. My question specifically is about the sodium potassium pumps, however I would also be grateful if someone ...
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166 views

Is there a biological neuron that spikes in response to hyperpolarizing currents?

As some background I've been building Electrophysiological models of neurons, and in the process stumbled upon a model, that in all respects is biologically plausible, but has a bizarre property I ...
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94 views

What were the first neural systems like?

I'm curious about the origin of the neural network. I'm thinking perhaps once life evolved beyond the single cell organism, it needed a simple neural network to coordinate those cells, and cell ...
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392 views

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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254 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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361 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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54 views

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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175 views

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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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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158 views

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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93 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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571 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?
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870 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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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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500 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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2k views

Are sensory receptors neurons?

Background There are many receptor types in the body, with various functions and various mechanisms of transduction. Receptor cells are considered to be part of the peripheral nervous system, as they ...
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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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248 views

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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What recovers normal polarisation after hyperpolarisation?

I have been taught that a Na+/K+ pump helps to recover normal polarisation after hyperpolarisation in neurons. I could not find out how it does that, since I've also been taught that such a pump moves ...
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129 views

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.… ...
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243 views

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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190 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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349 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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121 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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151 views

What is the latency between paired neuronal responses in the brain?

Is there any data on how long it takes for signals to propagate from one neuron to its neighbors in complex networks, such as the brain (particularly the neo-cortex)? If not, is there any reasonable ...
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231 views

Advantage of opponent color?

Opponent process is a color theory that states that the human visual system interprets information about color by processing signals from cones and rods in an antagonistic manner (source). What is ...
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Why does ALS start in middle age?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) often starts at middle age, but I didn't find any suggestion why. Something seems to trigger the symptoms in middle age. If I am not mistaken, the sporadic ALS is ...
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140 views

Are there nerves in the umbilical cord?

I have always imagined that cutting the umbilical cord after birth might be painful. But I have always been confused about who would feel the pain and why. It occurred to me that the mother or the ...
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402 views

How does the brain avoid feedback loops?

The article Ants Swarm Like Brains Think really helped me to understand the way that neurons which are pretty dumb on their own (like ants) can work together to create a pretty genius system (a brain ...
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on/off behavior of neural networks

What causes a group of disembodied neurons in a dish to fire after a silence? If there are no neurons providing a stimulus for more firing (as in a dish of disembodied rat neurons), then why don't ...
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122 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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140 views

How does the brain recall information?

In computers, finding a single word is realized through serial attempts across all available connections to find a specified target. How does the brain solve this? How does the whole process, from ...
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234 views

How does a neuron change as you learn?

I am currently taking a course called "Introduction to Machine Learning with ENCOG 3", and I have a question about how well the Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm for a "neural network" ...
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383 views

If a dead snake reflexively attacks itself, why does it not always attack itself?

Recently there has been this video going around of a snake that had been decapitated. Its body swung around to the decapitated head and the head attacked the body on "reflex". Now we know that most ...
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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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281 views

Can children restore brain cells?

By "children" I mean young people at the age of 10 or lower. I know that the adult brain cannot restore brain cells, but what about children? I mean, the brain must develop from a few cells to a 90 ...
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161 views

Can axons act as receptors?

In all histology books, it is stated that all sensory nerve endings (receptors) consist of dendrites that translate physical stimuli from the environment into neural signals. However, several sensory ...
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313 views

Is the six-layer cortex model of the mammalian cortex still the most accepted model?

I've been reading a bit about the different layers of the cerebral cortex and its clear that certainly not every region of the cortex has the same number of layers. Thus, the idea that every region ...
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152 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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281 views

Why do the brains of cocaine-users shrink faster than the brains of non-cocaine users?

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/04/cocaine-may-age-the-brain.html?rss=1 Cocaine-dependent individuals showed a significantly greater-than-normal age-related decline in gray matter in ...
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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 ...