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

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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
100 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
38 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
57 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 ...
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1answer
207 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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1answer
746 views

Have the abilities of John Lorber's patients with limited cortical mass been further evaluated in adulthood?

Short of minor lesions or infarcts, most high-functioning adults have an intact cerebral cortex. Yet, a surprising result published anecdotally in Science in 1980 caused a lot of scientists to take ...
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0answers
70 views

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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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 ...
6
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1answer
74 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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1answer
70 views

What does a cortical column do?

The Blue Brain project led by Henry Markram focused on simulating cortical columns under the idea they form basic processing units of the brain/cognitive function. What does a cortical column do? I ...
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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
93 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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1answer
40 views

How many thalamocortical relay cells synapse onto each spiny stellate cell in neocortex?

I am curious about how many different thalamocortical relay cells synapse onto each layer IV spiny stellate cell, on average? The answer is likely to be different per region and species, of course. I ...
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0answers
48 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 ...
3
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1answer
94 views

What causes a muscle to be unsteady?

I have noticed for myself that sometimes, certain muscles may become unsteady. Here are three examples: Sometimes it is more difficult to hold my hand still in the air. Another example is how my ...
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2answers
117 views

Does not using the brain erode its power? [closed]

Does not using the brain erode its power? If so, are perpetual brain exercises recommended to prevent (or increase) its power (chess, puzzles, etc)?
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1answer
46 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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0answers
39 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
44 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 ...
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4answers
400 views

Computational Neuroscience software

What are the most common software tools you use in your day to day work in computational neuroscience? I am referring to neuroscience tools like GENESIS and NOT to generic tools like Excel.
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1answer
66 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 ...
3
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3answers
140 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
46 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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2answers
32 views

Is pacemaker action potential considered a calcium dependent or sodium/calcium dependent?

Is a sinoatrial node action potential (AP) considered a Ca2+ dependent (No Na+) action potential? I was under the understanding that Ca2+ dependent APs were present only in Purkinje and endocrine ...
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86 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 ...
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1answer
86 views

How do thoughts work at the neuron level?

How does thought work at the biological level of individual neurons? I believe there are many neurons which are active in the brain at the same time. For example, our senses are constantly taking in ...
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1answer
164 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 ...
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55 views

Has a Split Brain patient's right brain been asked if he has qualia?

For split brain patients, usually only the left brain is capable of language and thus deep communication is done only with that part. However, some split brain patients have a more or less language ...
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1answer
22 views

The function of pumps in forming the resting potential

I am confused by the following. Apparently the resting potential of -65mV is reached when the two forces, diffusion and electrical gradient are in equilibrium. So why does the book say "The ...
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2answers
109 views

Neurosurgically grown neural link between two brains?

I guess it's possible to surgically restore neural connection after a trauma (e.g. a severed hand can be reattached if done quickly). And, from history of evolution of hominids, it seems that just by ...
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1answer
81 views

MRI images upside-down in FSLVIEW

I'm visualizing structural data in FSLVIEW, but the sagittal and coronal planes are both upside-down / not in the conventional orientation, i.e. rotated by 90º and 180º. I understand that this ...
3
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1answer
135 views

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

History of question: This previous question asked about both hemispheric specialisation and control of opposite sides of the body. The point was made that these are two very different questions. So ...
3
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1answer
162 views

Neuroplasticity and Treatment of Depression

After reading 'The Brain That Changes Itself' by Norman Doidge, 'The Mind and The Brain' by Jeffrey Schwartz and a few other books, I've become curious about the science of neuroplasticity, which, as ...
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3answers
295 views

How does the brain learn what something is for the first time?

I'm trying to understand how the idea of what a thing is originates in humans. For example, in computer science, it is possible to know what an object is and what it does, by examining its ...
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1answer
38 views

What is the current consensus on if fMRI studies in blood flow actually match brain activity?

How good is blood flow (BOLD signal) as a measure of actual neural activity? What deficiencies exist?
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1answer
96 views

Can tinnitus be measured with EEG or MEG?

Can tinnitus be measured with EEG or MEG (magnetoencephalography)? Is it visible in a power spectrum? In an ERP/ERF?
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26 views

Do our brains have difficulties detecting no?

In most business seminars, or in movie the secret, for example, it is said that if we want to be rich we need to believe we want to be rich. We got to want peace, not anti war. We got to be pro ...
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0answers
64 views

Are our brains just energy conserving systems? [closed]

Is the brain a purely energy conserving system that creates behaviours for conserving the energy distributed to the brain, based on the input of sensory information that our bodies take in?
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0answers
89 views

Does data support Domhoff's neurocognitive theory of dreams?

Background: A friend described consistent feelings and themes during a dream. It is my understanding that the contents of our dreams are our subconscious/unconscious/preconscious processing stimuli ...
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1answer
58 views

Is there another example of a strongly emergent phenomenon besides the mind?

If you agree that the mind arises from the brain and is an emergent property of it, then the mind has to be strongly emergent, rather than weakly emergent. Is there any other example in reality of a ...
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2answers
174 views

Does law of attraction have psychological basis? [closed]

A common claim in business and self-help seminars is that optimists are luckier. Is it true that optimism leads to greater success in life? If so, what part of the brain support this so called ...
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1answer
77 views

How does the brain learn abstract maths?

I have found quite a bit of information of how, on a neurological level, we learn the most basic forms of maths. We seem to be hardwired from the get go, to deal with manageable quantities, can ...
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2answers
234 views

Neural Microfilaments for Computation?

I just watched an interesting TED talk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d5RetvkkuQ) where a Stuart Hameroff proposes that a neuron's microtubules are responsible for computations, and that they are ...
5
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1answer
76 views

Structural descriptions of neuronal networks are important for understanding brain dysfunctions; which dysfunctions, in particular?

In a recent paper, we find this quote: The brain contains vast numbers of interconnected neurons that constitute anatomical and functional networks. Structural descriptions of neuronal network ...
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1answer
381 views

Modern replacement for Panksepp's “Affective Neuroscience” book?

Jaak Panksepp's book (Amazon link here) is a phenomenal and highly readable systems-based introduction to not only affective neuroscience, but the neuroscience of motivation in general. The problem ...
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2answers
67 views

Sensitivity of human eye to luminance

I heard once that the human eye has a logarithmic scale for luminance, e.g. to "feel" that a surface is three times as luminous compared to another, the former emits a light 8 times more powerful than ...
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2answers
77 views

How to make diagnosis of these symptoms using Pet scan, fMRI, and EEG?

The symptoms are muscle weakness, slow reaction time, visual perception issues, seizures, hearing loss, weight gain, general sense of pain and delusions. Using the above scanning techniques, a doctor ...
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2answers
89 views

Does a person experience release of dopamine while doing something she/he enjoys?

I am wondering if a person would experience an increase in the level of dopamine while doing something she/he enjoys such as playing guitar or reading a book. And what are some other neurotransmitter ...
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1answer
75 views

What is the lifetime of the synapse in the mature brain?

I know there is synaptic plasticity in the mature brain. There is a great number of plasticity mechanisms like LTD and LTP, acting on different time scales. Apart from the synaptic weight change, ...
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1answer
127 views

How many calories do we burn when we try to understand mathematical proofs?

While thinking we burn calories. For comparison: "And if it’s the right wood and the right chess grand masters in the middle of a tournament, they are going through 6,000 to 7,000 calories a day ...