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

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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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153 views

How is color information transmitted from the eye to the brain?

Is color information sent from the eye to the brain frequency-modulated, or are different colors transmitted by different axons? I know that each ganglion cell is connected to multiple ...
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839 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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203 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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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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192 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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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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310 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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119 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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143 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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996 views

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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105 views

Why does the human brain not overfit when training at some task?

One of the problems that occur during (artificial) neural network training is called overfitting. The error on the training set is driven to a very small value, but when new data is presented to ...
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69 views

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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479 views

Why do antidepressants have a delayed onset of action?

Why do antidepressants take so long to reach efficacy? I've read of theories about it perhaps being due to the strength of negative feedback via serotonergic and adrenergic autoreceptors during the ...
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146 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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121 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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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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2k views

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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120 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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315 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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89 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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213 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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434 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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384 views

Why do humans alone have the capability to have religious/spiritual experiences?

What is it in our brain that makes having such experiences possible? I assume other species don't have these. Sure there are instances in the natural world where you can see individuals of the species ...
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236 views

Why has evolution made neurons use spiking?

I'm going to be forward and say that I'm not a biologist. I don't claim to fully understand the functionality of a neuron from an electrical/chemical perspective... I'm curiously gazing from the ...
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491 views

Are brain cells replaced over time?

You know how your cells die all the time and new ones are made to replace them, so you practically have a new body every maybe 5 years? Many people say you become a completely different person every ...
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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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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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55 views

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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120 views

What's the worst that can happen from too much sleep deprivation? Can you die?

It is well known that sleep deprivation causes considerable discomfort in humans (and has even used as a form of torture), but nevertheless there have been people who went through protracted sleep ...
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139 views

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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143 views

What are the constraints when growing an artificial brain?

Are there any experiments on growing artificial brains from brain tissue? What are the constraints? Will such tissue grown to the mass greater than that of human brain surpass it in intellect or it ...
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108 views

Neuroscience of mathematicians

I've tried to google this but everything that comes up are things like "mathematical neuroscience" rather than the other way around. Specifically, I'm interested in the workings of a mathematician's ...
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How does a change in the potential across a neuron's membrane get turned into a signal that is sent down the axon?

I understand How a signal is propagated down the axon. How the membrane potential of a neuron changes during the course of it's "firing". But I don't understand how physically the change in ...
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78 views

How precisely can we sense temperature differences?

We have thermoreceptors, thus we can sense temperature (both warm and cold). I'm interested in the sensitivity of our thermoreceptors - What is the smallest temperature difference that we can sense? ...
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86 views

Effect of closed eyes on balance?

Suppose you want to stand on one leg. Doing it eyes open is not that difficult, but doing it eyes closed seems to be difficult. Why?
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268 views

Where do the 31 spinal nerves start/meet?

Which part of the brain is the first place (from top to bottom) where all 31 pairs of spinal nerves (on each side) meet? Or if they all start at one place - where is that? Nominally, the beginning of ...
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35 views

Can nociceptors die because of too much mechanical stress?

In martial art people hit their body (e.g., with small bean bags) to become more insensitive to pain. Can the sensory neurons die during this procedure? I think this is just an urban legend. Instead, ...
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Immediate stroke/seizure Therapy

Can an oncoming stroke/seizure, be stopped by a setup consisting of a brain-computer-interface (BCI) that immediately detects the variation in wave-form, and then another machine that neutralizes the ...
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176 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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Braquio-abduction illusion explanation and references

Illusion: Lying down on a hard flat floor move arms up and down (as when doing a snow angel) while keeping them touching the floor. While repeating it a few times the floor begins to appear concave, ...
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229 views

How does someone with red-green colorblindness see yellow on a monitor/television?

I recently watched the video This Is Not Yellow explaining how red, green, and blue pixels can be used to create images of all other colors. Since yellow is created with red and green pixels, how is a ...
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Confused at what is happening with these action potentials

Ok so for a bit of a background, I am doing a science project looking at the action potentials of the earthworm. I anaesthatized the worms then hooked them up to a spiker box ...
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207 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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96 views

What is the core mechanism behind neuroplasticity?

Specifically I am looking at reopening of the critical period of plasticity. Modern neuroscience has started to unlock the secret of neuroplasticity. A common experimental setup is with mice. They ...
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320 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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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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64 views

Are there baby drinks closer to breast-milk?

Many women cannot or will not feed their children with breast-milk. It is my understanding breast-milk has many advantages over formula. Some psychological like oxytocin and some physiological like ...
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Somatosensory System

I have a test in my upcoming Neuroscience class, one of the items on the study guide is: Identify 2 means by which a maintained, constant stimulus produces only a transient excitation of the ...