For questions about the biology of the nervous system, from a macroscopic to microscopic perspective.

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1answer
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Why does a neuron choose to connect to another?

I have been reading about neuron creation, guidance cues and all sorts of highly complex mechanisms used to allow one neuron axon to extend or connect - but to what end? Why does one neuron end up ...
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0answers
23 views

Neuropharmacology and Simulation

I've been wondering whether neural simulations have had applications in (cognitive)neuropharmacological research already. One always reads about the promise of the technology in helping us cure ...
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49 views

Why is MATLAB so common in Neuroscience?

It is common knowledge that neuroscience -- particularly experimental neuroscience -- uses MATLAB more than any other programming language. I have always just taken this as a given, and pointed to ...
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1answer
28 views

How many action potentials from presynaptic neurons would be required to make a postsynaptic neuron fire?

I am looking for a rough estimation of the number of action potentials from other neurons required to cause a neuron to fire? I read here that a potential of ~ -55mv must be reached before an action ...
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1answer
32 views

Are there any serious neuroscientific theories of emotional valence?

Could anyone tell me if there are any serious neuroscientific mechanisms that have been proposed to explain how feelings of body states take on a positive or negative character (valence)? An example ...
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1answer
37 views

Number of presynaptic inputs per cell in primary visual cortex

I have been digging in the literature lately, but I haven't found a nice answer with clear cut numbers (avg +- std) to this question: How many presynaptic inputs receives a pyramidal cell in primary ...
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0answers
34 views

Can microdialysis be made in Drosophila melanogaster?

Microdialysis is a common method to study the effects of drugs on specific mamal brains zones (mostly in rats), in order to study the it's interaction with the function of those specific areas that ...
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2answers
67 views

How does subjective experience arise from matter?

Forgive me for lacking rigor, but if what I know is correct, it is established that consciousness and other higher functions characteristic of humans are a consequence of our cortex, specifically ...
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1answer
44 views

How actively does your brain physically prune connections?

Is pruning defined as neural apoptosis or are connections (neural synapses) simply separated? At what rate, if known, does this occur in individuals (ages 18+)?
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2answers
43 views

Can repetitive sports-related head injuries make a person senile many years later?

Would repetitive football injuries to the cranium show up decades later, causing symptoms resembling mild retardation, OCD, etc.? What is the best way to determine this in terms of imaging, testing, ...
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0answers
47 views

Why is it easier to fall asleep in the dark?

I'm curious if there is any neurological mechanism that explains why falling asleep is easier in the dark. I recognize that this isn't true universally -- a phobia of darkness might make it easier to ...
2
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1answer
85 views

How many synapses in the average human brain?

Knowing there are 100,000,000,000 neurons in an average human brain, and 7,000 dendrites in each neuron, and neurons are connected to each other by dendrites and axon terminals, how many synapses are ...
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1answer
46 views

What was the quantified brain volume of Albert Einstein?

I have read articles stating that Albert Einstein had an average brain volume but couldn't find a specific measurement. I'm curious because the articles are all so ambiguous. He could have been on the ...
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2answers
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Are there any programmes to identify modular “NeuroBricks”?

In synthetic biology, an organization called the BioBricks Foundation tries to identify modular biological components that are amenable to engineering design, and publishes them in the Registry of ...
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0answers
17 views

How do ligands bind to and release from receptors?

I'm wondering exactly how ligands bind to and release from receptors. Until recently I presumed ligands were attracted to receptors through electrostatic forces with no chemical interaction involved, ...
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1answer
27 views

What are the neurobiological factors associated with intelligence in animals?

For example, is there a well-defined relationship between "number of neurons in the cortex" and some measure of "intelligence" in animals? I'm familiar with the encephalization quotient - that is, ...
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4answers
208 views

Why do scientists say brains are faster than computers?

Supposing that neurons function similarly to transistors: A neuron fires 200 times per second and transistors can be switched on and off more than 100,000,000,000 times per second. Let's say it fires ...
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0answers
44 views

Trying to understand equations in Karl Friston article

I am trying to understand a neuroscience article by Karl Friston. In it he gives three equations that are, as I understand him, equivalent or inter-convertible and refer to both physical and Shannon ...
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1answer
135 views

OCD Motivation and Dopamine Motivation, is there a connection?

I understand that OCD is something that causes sufferers to perform irrational behavour consciously, I also understand that the motivation comes from performing the irrational behaviour/behaviours to ...
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2answers
76 views

Why is it hard to simulate a neuron?

I read a NY Times article about the European effort to simulate a human brain and the criticism regarding the (non-)feasibility of such an endeavor (not to mention the astronomical costs). In this ...
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2answers
67 views

Difference between brain disease and brain disorder

Is there any difference between the terms brain disease and brain disorder? They are often used in combination without ...
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1answer
78 views

Importance of Neural Synchrony to Cognition

Is there a consensus on whether computation using Neural Synchrony is reasonable or not? In "How to Build a Brain", Chris Eliasmisth cites Yuko Munakata and R. C. O'Reilly as saying that "the ...
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1answer
66 views

How does an understanding of the brain explain why people experience strong emotional responses to major sporting events?

Anyone know studies or theories that explain how massive competition events between countries or parties, like the Soccer World Cup Tournament finals or Olympic Games affect our brains? Why do people ...
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1answer
75 views

Can the neuronal firing rate be increased through medication/diet?

My rudimentary understanding of the neuronal firing rate is that it varies person to person, and neuron to neuron. So any specific number for a firing rate would be specific to the test subject and ...
3
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1answer
47 views

If one is flexing a muscle, for any given motoneuron involved, how many action potentials occur per second to keep the muscle flexed?

Also, will the axon terminals in a given motoneuron ever run out of neurotransmitters to release if they are constantly undergoing action potentials (say in the situation outlined above where a muscle ...
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1answer
45 views

How is averaging used in calculating the Bereitschaftspotential?

I have a question about the averaging involved in the Bereitschaftspotential. On http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bereitschaftspotential you can read that, because it is so small, the ...
3
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1answer
78 views

Is learning and memory formation mostly comprised of new synapses forming, or already-existent synapses strengthening?

I'm guessing it may be some combination of the two. If so, which is the more frequent situation? I'm also guessing it varies depending on the type of memory being formed. Let's take for instance, my ...
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1answer
53 views

Law and its formula that says: more time organism working the slower (or less precise) the movements

What is the name of the law and the equation that says that "the more time an organism is working the slower (or less precise) its movements." ? I read once that there is a law in behavioral science ...
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2answers
58 views

Are axon terminals always part of a synapse, or are there any that just release neurotransmitters into the ether during an action potential?

By "ether" I mean to no post-synaptic cell in particular. If this is the case, how common is it for an axon terminal to not be part of a synapse? Related question: do axon terminals form only as ...
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2answers
102 views

Why do we have so many wishes and desires?

Two years ago I started to learn (as self-education) evolution theory and neurobiology for to understand - who we are and where we came from? Now I see clearly that we are our brains, which are the ...
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2answers
97 views

Where do our memories get stored and how are they retrieved again?

There is a common knowledge that several brain areas are involved in memory processes and each area is involved in a different aspect of memory. But where do our memories get stored and how are they ...
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1answer
37 views

How exactly does alcohol consumption damage dendrites?

How exactly does alcohol consumption damage dendrites? I'm not talking about over a long period of usage, but just one instance.
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2answers
54 views

Are the lobes of the brain anatomically distinct, or is the distinction between them not as well-defined?

If I had a brain in front of me, would I be able to find some kind of crevasse or something separately each lobe from the next? I guess what I'm asking is, are lobes more arbitrarily-defined regions ...
6
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1answer
203 views

Folding (wrinkles) in cortex: Why is surface area more important than volume?

When we look at the cortex of the brain, it has a folded structure. It is said that this is because this enables a greater number of neurons to exist, which is obviously advantageous. However, we ...
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Is there a correlation between brain size and amount of sleep?

As far as we know, sleep seems to be the part of the daily cycle when executive functions are resting and memories are fortifying. Many, but not all, of the functions that become dysfunctional upon ...
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1answer
73 views

How is epigenetic memory expressed in neurons?

Epigenetic memory is seen as the most evolutionarily plausible way of learning from experiences and gaining instinctual knowledge, as established by the answer to one of my previous questions. ...
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0answers
27 views

Do people with prenatal hyperkinetic dysfunction have better endurace?

I have a question about hyperkinetic dysfunction. I wonder if theres a relation between HKD and the physical fitness, like endurance or strength, because I have a case, where someone never does ...
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0answers
36 views

Why low audio frequencies seem to detune after an intense workout?

After a specially intense workout (biking, running...), listening to music with headphones, I hear the music pitch has dropped slightly. What I find odd is that not all parts of the sound are detuned, ...
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2answers
92 views

How fast is the visual system?

I've heard that the visual system is one of our slowest sensory systems. How fast is the visual system, and how does it compare to other sensory systems (auditory, mechanosensory, pain, etc.)? For ...
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0answers
46 views

Brain structures related to risk-taking behavior

I did a preliminary research on brain structures in which activity might underlie risk-taking behavior. I came to two research that described right prefrontal cortex (Knoch et al., 2006), or ...
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1answer
45 views

What exactly is the neurobiological mechanism behind the functioning of the human muscle?

From what I have read, its been given that muscle functioning and coordination involves two processes: frequency summation and muscle recruitment. What I want to know is that, do these two processes ...
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38 views

Is the Orch-OR Penrose-Hameroff model for consciousness sensible? [duplicate]

I would definitely consider myself a fan of Penrose, but I know very little about Hameroff. My questions, basically, are: Do you think that the theory seems sensible and well based? Why do you ...
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1answer
43 views

What is the metabolic load of the visual system?

The brain consumes energy at eight times the rate that would be predicted from mass alone (20% of total organismic load). How much of this is drawn from the visual system? How does the metabolic load ...
6
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1answer
64 views

What can be inferred about the strength of the synapse from an electron microscope image?

In the following EM image (1um scale), there are several synapses: Image or HD Version What information about the synaptic strengths can be extracted from this image? Does vesicle count contain ...
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3answers
140 views

What kinds of information can (and cannot) be extracted from connectome?

Several scientific projects are trying to map the connectome, such as The Human Connectome Project. The connectomes of other organisms, such as C. elegans, have been mapped already. Having an ...
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3answers
134 views

How are personality traits “encoded” in the brain?

How are personality traits – such as optimism, sensation seeking or need for cognition – "encoded" in the brain? Do people with different levels of, say, extraversion have different neuronal ...
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0answers
42 views

What is the relationship between topographic maps and sensory memory?

Sensory maps are defined functionally: they exist for a certain time window, are overwritten quickly, are generally inaccessible to introspective control. Topographic maps are defined biologically: ...
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74 views

Is Brain Sync music effective in increasing cognitive functioning?

From the website: BRAIN SYNC meditation CDs and guided imagery techniques are proven to significantly improve mental performance. In two decades, nearly 3 million Brain Sync users have ...
2
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1answer
126 views

How does the body experience free-fall during a hypnic jerk

Today I learned that a sudden jerk that you sometimes experience when you are just about to fall asleep due to a sense of free-fall or weightlessness is called a hypnic jerk. If, while sleeping, I ...
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1answer
144 views

What is the difference between computational neuroscience, theoretical neuroscience, and neuroinformatics (if there is one)?

In particular, theoretical and computational neuroscience seem to be synonymous with each other. Neuroinformatics at least seems to deal somewhat more with solving things numerically and the usage and ...