Questions tagged [neuroscience]

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

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27
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3answers
30k views

Why is saltatory conduction in myelinated axons faster than continuous conduction in unmyelinated axons?

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 ...
33
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4answers
4k views

How and where, in the human brain, are memories stored?

Background I am a computer programmer who is fascinated by artificial intelligence and artificial neural networks, and I am becoming more curious about how biological neural networks work. Context &...
73
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3answers
16k views

How does the brain's energy consumption depend on mental activity?

What is the impact of mental activity on the energy consumption of the human brain? I am most interested in intellectually demanding tasks (e.g., chess matches, solving a puzzle, taking a difficult ...
35
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6answers
39k views

Why do the two hemispheres of the brain control the opposite sides of the body?

Why does the left hemisphere control the right and the right hemisphere control the left? I googled it but didn't find a good answer regarding this. Could someone explain? Does this adaptation help ...
18
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1answer
503 views

The human brain in numbers I: neurons

Even though knowing the number of neurons in a functional unit or with the same function is not of main importance, it may be interesting to know their orders of magnitude, especially in the human ...
13
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3answers
1k 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 ...
41
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3answers
78k views

If the brain has no pain receptors, how come you can get a headache?

I've read many years ago in books, that the brain has no nerves on it, and if someone was touching your brain, you couldn't feel a thing. Just two days before now, I had a very bad migraine, due to a ...
15
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4answers
9k views

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 ...
25
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2answers
2k views

How is temperature sensed?

Can anyone summarize the mechanism by which when an object of a given temperature is placed in contact with, say, the skin on a human fingertip, the average speed of the particles of the object is ...
17
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3answers
515 views

Under what conditions do dendritic spines form?

I'm looking for resources or any information about the formation of dendritic spines and synaptogenesis, especially in relation to how new connections are formed on a daily basis. Does the ...
9
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3answers
1k views

How do our eyes detect light at different frequencies?

Here is my confusion: we can see colored light of different wavelengths: form red to violet. To my understanding, these stimuli cause a confirmational change in the photoreceptors in our eyes and ...
5
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1answer
262 views

What is the mechanism by which myelination reduces the capacitance of the axon membrane?

There are two mechanisms that have been proposed to me. 1) Layering of Schwann cell membrane with conducting fluid between the layers is analogous to several capacitors in series. Since capacitance ...
2
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2answers
221 views

Why does resting potential not become continually more negative?

(Firstly, I know this is similar to other questions, but I have read those answers and they do not really cover this topic). My understanding of resting potential: action potential is not being ...
9
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1answer
2k views

What keeps the resting potential of neurons constant at -70 mV?

I know the sodium-potassium pump pumps out 3 Na+ ions and pumps in 2 K+ ions per reaction so the negative charge in the axon increases. However, once the voltage (difference of charge inside and ...
4
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3answers
1k views

Mechanical cause of loss of consciousness

Consciousness is an electrical and chemical interaction in the brain, caused by neurons firing and chemical interactions. How does a mechanical "force" cause this to stop working? i.e. How does a ...
26
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2answers
38k views

How do the brain and nerves create electrical pulses?

The information between the brain and peripheral nerves is sent via electrical pulses or signals, How then does a non-metallic human cell manage to conduct an electrical signal?
22
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9answers
20k views

Why have humans evolved much more quickly than other animals?

Humans have, in a relatively short amount of time, evolved from apes on the African plains to upright brainiacs with nukes, computers, and space travel. Meanwhile, a lion is still a lion and a ...
40
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2answers
7k views

What actually happens when my leg 'falls asleep'?

Most people have experienced the temporary loss of feeling and tingling in their leg resulting from sitting in an abnormal position for a short while. Usually you get a loss of feeling in your leg ...
11
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2answers
4k 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 ...
20
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1answer
561 views

Why are fearful stimuli more powerful at night?

For example, horror movies appear to be scarier when viewed at night than during broad day light. Does light have any role in this phenomenon? Are there changes in hormones at night versus during ...
14
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2answers
2k 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" ...
20
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3answers
59k 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 ...
10
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2answers
24k views

How is membrane capacitance related to the increased speed of saltatory conduction?

Here is the original question which inspired my question. As explained by the answers there, the reason saltatory conduction in myelinated neurons is faster than non-myelinated conduction is because ...
9
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1answer
1k 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 ...
8
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2answers
8k views

Do ants feel pain?

I have watched video on youtube where guy pours molten aluminium into fire ant colony to make casing. In the comments below there's huge discussion on is that a right thing to do. I am on the side ...
8
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3answers
1k 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 ...
9
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2answers
3k 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 ...
8
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2answers
2k 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 ...
7
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1answer
3k views

Why does an electric shock contract the muscle?

From what I understand, the electrical impulse in our nerve cells is not made of electrons, but of ions that move from different environments with different concentrations, which is totally not ...
6
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2answers
952 views

Inductance in cell

In an animal cell, especially neuron and in particular its axon, while there is electrical resistance and capacitance mechanism in the cell, which play essential roles in the cable theory model of ...
6
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2answers
319 views

Do smaller intelligent animals have a higher neuron density to account for their seeming intelligence? Otherwise, what?

It seems like there's a lot of very small animals that have a much higher intelligence than what you would expect if you linearly projected intelligence as a function of brain size. There's ravens, ...
6
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2answers
2k views

How does the brain know where a signal came from? What is the addressing system

I am an electronic engineer so I am thinking about this from an electronics outlook. How does the addressing system work, As I see it, the nervous system is small parallel branches attached to larger ...
6
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2answers
13k views

Can the human eye distinguish colors in the periphery?

In the back of my mind I have the idea that human eyes can't notice the color of objects in the far periphery, and that any subjective perception of colors is done by the brain that tries to fill in ...
15
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2answers
2k views

Are there neurons that can sense light shining in your ears?

I know someone who bought earphones that shine light in you ears. According to what he was told, there are neurons that sense light and then make you feel wide awake when activated, which seemed like ...
8
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3answers
295 views

Is the ratio 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 ...
6
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1answer
172 views

Bugs' love for light

Do bugs love light bulbs because they resemble the stars or is it the sun? How do they sense the bulb? What is the purpose of this "brightophilia" that has evolved in insects?
4
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1answer
2k views

Saltatory conduction of nerve impulses

I am aware about some basics of saltatory conduction of nerve impulses. I know that the nerve impulses (ion flow and the depolarization) are transferred from node to node in myelinated nerve fibers. ...
4
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2answers
3k views

Is it possible to process electrical signals from the brain and interpret the results as exact thoughts?

If the brain uses extremely low voltage signals to communicate (from what I understand around 100 mV), what sort of breakthroughs would be necessary to intercept these signals and interpret them as ...
3
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1answer
246 views

Understanding presynaptic and postsynaptic inhibition

One way to classify neural inhibition is based on the inhibition being "presynaptic" or "postsynaptic". As far as I understand, the two different types of inhibition refer to the following: ...
3
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1answer
210 views

What is the energy consumption of the brain?

What is the energy consumption of the brain, and is there a difference in consumption when waking and sleeping?
0
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2answers
181 views

How do firing patterns arise from the activity of many ion channels?

In his answer to another question, Bryan Krause says: Ion channels don't exhibit any firing patterns: neurons exhibit firing patterns that depend on all the channels present [...]. I understand ...
10
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2answers
906 views

How are neurons / synapses “biased”?

I'm trying to see if I understand this correctly. I've read the question Can the human brain be reduced to a binary system? and one of the answers explains: While action potentials are usually ...
8
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2answers
683 views

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 ...
7
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1answer
106 views

Cortical projections from layers 2/3 back to 4?

As all excititory neurons in layer 4 are stellate - they have no apical dendrites that could project to layers 2/3. However, I have seen some diagrams showing axonal projections from layers 2/3 back ...
4
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2answers
51k views

What are the functions and differences between axons and dendrites?

My textbook doesn't do a very good job of pointing out what the differences between the two are. It basically mentions axons only in the same breath as the synapse (that synapses are the endings/tips ...
4
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1answer
2k views

If nerve consists of many axons, where are then their soma located?

This question has haunted me for two years. Wikipedia mentions : A nerve is an enclosed, cable-like bundle of axons (the long, slender projections of neurons) in the peripheral nervous system. A ...
4
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1answer
647 views

If people with colorblindness lack one type of cone cells, shouldn't they be unable to recognize one particular color?

The 3 types of cone cells in normal humans allow them to view 3 types of colors and any color made from mixing and matching those 3. So, 2 types of cone cells should only allow to view just 2 types ...
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0answers
48 views

Are large cell bodies of neurons harder to depolarize than small cell bodies of neurons?

In order for the axon to initiate an action potential, we know that the axon initial segment must be brought to threshold. So my question is as follows: Say we have the minimum charge input, "X", ...
81
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3answers
14k views

Is there an RGB equivalent for smells?

Millions of colors in the visible spectrum can be generated by mixing red, green and blue - the RGB color system. Is there a basic set of smells that, when mixed, can yield all, or nearly all ...
62
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4answers
8k views

Are there organisms with fewer than 1000 neurons?

I'm developing neural networks comprised of just 3 to 10 layers of virtual neurons and I'm curious to know if there are any insect brains out there with fewer than a thousand neurons? Are there any ...