Related topics: brain · nerve cells · brain cells · cells · stem cells

Finding a gene that regulates sleep

What keeps us awake—and helps us fall asleep? The answer is complex, but involves what are called circadian rhythms, which are found in all species with sleep-wake cycles—physical, mental, and behavioral changes that ...

Electronic chip mimics the brain to make memories in a flash

Researchers from RMIT University have drawn inspiration from optogenetics, an emerging tool in biotechnology, to develop a device that replicates the way the brain stores and loses information. Optogenetics allows scientists ...

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Neuron

A neuron (pronounced /ˈnjʊərɒn/ N(Y)OOR-on, also known as a neurone or nerve cell) is an excitable cell in the nervous system that processes and transmits information by electrochemical signalling. Neurons are the core components of the brain, the vertebrate spinal cord, the invertebrate ventral nerve cord, and the peripheral nerves. A number of specialized types of neurons exist: sensory neurons respond to touch, sound, light and numerous other stimuli affecting cells of the sensory organs that then send signals to the spinal cord and brain. Motor neurons receive signals from the brain and spinal cord and cause muscle contractions and affect glands. Interneurons connect neurons to other neurons within the same region of the brain or spinal cord. Neurons respond to stimuli, and communicate the presence of stimuli to the central nervous system, which processes that information and sends responses to other parts of the body for action. Neurons do not go through mitosis, and usually cannot be replaced after being destroyed, although astrocytes have been observed to turn into neurons as they are sometimes pluripotent.

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