From my "Medical Neuroscience 2014" studies at Coursera. What a wonderful journey!!
Hello dear Brainiacs! Long time, no see! It's been more than 4 months since I updated this site for the last time. Times were busy but fruitful, full of learning and new experiences. I'm very happy that the times to come, actually the next 3-4 months will be full of Neuroscience! First, today starts the HarvardX course "MCB80x: The electrical properties of the neuron". Next, in Jan. 04 2014, "Drugs and the Brain" by California Institute of Technology, at Coursera. Finally, in Jan. 6 2014, there is the "Medical Neuroscience" by Duke University, again at Coursera. And last but not least, "Computational Neuroscience", Jan. 10, by University of Washington, at Coursera. Wow!! See you!
Sea slug (Aplysia californica)
It's not always feasible to study the human brain in order to address the issues of organization and function of human nervous system as well as the pathological bases of neurological and psychiatric diseases. So neuroscientists have informally adopted a set of "model organisms" based on their ability to do genetic analyses on systems that exhibit many biological similarities to the human one. These organisms are:
Ok, I'm so happy that my book order from Amazon.UK finally arrived! These are some excellent, top-quality editions, especially the three books to the right. Now, it's about time I make a plan (and stick to it) about the study schedule.
1. Do dendrites (the input part of a neuron) resemble to physical trees or do physical trees resemble to dendrites? (in Greek, we use the word /dendro/ (the stress goes to "e") to mean "tree". So "dendritic" means "tree-like".)
2. Do "social neurons" are born and die, struggling to adapt to the hosting neural network environment in a darwinian-like manner or maybe we, us members of a society with the same adaptation requirements are an explicit and deterministic manifestation of our own nerve cells?
3. Does a neuron resemble to a modern CPU or may be the modern CPU is a deterministic, unavoidable manifestation and implementation of our own inherent computational structure?
4. Does a neuron cell resemble to an electrical circuit or may be the actual electrical circuits are nothing more than deterministic manifestations/inventions/discoveries of our own inherent structure? Do we actually invent ourselves?
5. Do we choose to dance to the beat or are we driven by the dancing performance of our... cochlea hair cells??
To summarize, what is happening with meta-neuroscientific descriptions, like "a dendrite is like a tree", "a neuron is like a CPU", etc?). What does this metalanguage describe?
"You, your joys and sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and your free will are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules" - Francis Crick, Nobel Laureate, 1962 - "the father of DNA". This saying implies in many ways that we're a mechanistic, physical machine that generates beautiful (and terrible!) things. Indeed, looking inside the brain one will not find neither spirits nor "Ghosts" in this machine. He/she will find genes, ions, channels, neurons, axons, dendrites and spikes (aka... BOOMS! - Farewell to you as well Prof. Segev, we've had some great moments - Plz, tell Guy to hurry the next series of lectures!!). Click "Read More" to continue!
A young or an old lady?
What are the neuronal processing mechanisms for?
Here you have my collection of small brain images, in reply to a forum post. Click on any image to show up, right click to "Save As...", done. Have fun!
There are quite a few mega projects today ($ billions) about the study of the brain.
The Blue Brain Project originated from Henry Markram. The idea behind this project was two-fold: first, to build a new platform for brain databases, secondly, to make simulations based on the data.
The Dendrite as a cable
The main question now to ponder about is what does the brain do with its plasticity and changes that utilizes for understanding the world. So the concept of "computation" comes in play in particular cells, in particular dendrites, meaning the functional aspect of learning and plasticity in terms of using it to compute aspects of the world in order to behave appropriately. (click Read More to continue reading)