Opening the black box of dendritic computing

How do nerve cells compute? This fundamental question drives LMU neurobiologists led by Andreas Herz. They have now presented a novel method to disentangle complex neural processes in a much more powerful way than was previously ...

Mathematicians report a way to optimize post-stroke therapy

RUDN scientists have created a mathematical model describing changes in the properties of brain tissues after stroke. The development will help clinicians to optimize post-stroke therapy by stimulating brain neurons and taking ...

Peculiar physics at work in the brain

In 1982, the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Ken Wilson for his contribution to understanding what goes on in certain materials as they undergo a phase transition—like the transition between liquid water and steam. ...

Virtually modelling the human brain in a computer

Neurons that remain active even after the triggering stimulus has been silenced form the basis of short-term memory. The brain uses rhythmically active neurons to combine larger groups of neurons into functional units. Until ...

Pigeons can discriminate both space and time

Pigeons aren't so bird-brained after all. New research at the University of Iowa shows that pigeons can discriminate the abstract concepts of space and time—and seem to use a different region of the brain than humans and ...

On intelligence

During human evolution, our cerebral cortex increased in size in response to new environmental challenges. The cerebral cortex is the site of diverse processes, including visual perception and language acquisition. However, ...

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Cerebral cortex

The cerebral cortex is a structure within the brain that plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language, and consciousness. It constitutes the outermost layer of the cerebrum. In preserved brains, it has a grey color, hence the name "grey matter". Grey matter is formed by neurons and their unmyelinated fibers, whereas the white matter below the grey matter of the cortex is formed predominantly by myelinated axons interconnecting different regions of the central nervous system. The human cerebral cortex is 2–4 mm (0.08–0.16 inches) thick.

The surface of the cerebral cortex is folded in large mammals, such that more than two-thirds of the cortical surface is buried in the grooves, called "sulci." The phylogenetically most recent part of the cerebral cortex, the neocortex, also called isocortex, is differentiated into six horizontal layers; the more ancient part of the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus (also called archicortex), has at most three cellular layers, and is divided into subfields. Relative variations in thickness or cell type (among other parameters) allow us to distinguish between different neocortical architectonic fields. The geometry of at least some of these fields seems to be related to the anatomy of the cortical folds, and, for example, layers in the upper part of the cortical ridges (called gyri) seem to be more clearly differentiated than in its deeper parts.

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