Brain Facts #1: Foundations of Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

  1. The Brain is an organ. It is a machine. It can be medicated and controlled. Now, on a lighter note, the brain is the most complex and sophisticated organ in the world. Even in fruit fly brains, there are so many pathways and connections that we still don’t know about!

  1. It is made up of 50% glia and 50% neurons. Glia are cells that aren’t neurons. These can be anything from radial cells which guide neurons to the zones in the brain they’ve reside in for the whole of your life during fetal development.
  2. Neurons sense changes in the environment and fire off action potentials to muscles/glands that control our reactions to the environment. Can you believe that the basis of your thoughts and your mind are all coded on through the action potentials of the neurons? Of course, it’s not as simple as the neurons ‘seeing’ the world and telling your mind about it. It’s neurotransmitters, its agonists, and antagonists, its saltatory conduction, and it’s only the beginning.
  3. Your brain is an organic computer. It collects, distributes and integrates information from within your body and outside of your body, across time and space. It uses neurons instead of wires, ions instead of electrons.
  4. The Action Potential that is used all neurons all follow the All or Nothing rule and is pickier than a perfect 10 looking for a husband. Like the maximum quantum of 80% in plants, the brain is fussy. It will take the threshold potential to start off; no more, no less. This is a post on thinking about the first third of my Neuro 100 class.

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