Category: Neuroscience



Neurons                       Isaac Gendler


“What is the most basic framework of the human mind”?

This is one of the most fundamental and dazzling questions that has perplexed Scientists and Philosophers for the entirety of human history. And only recently has the greater human intellectual community come to understand a fraction of an answer to this deceptively simple question. Abode in the boundless complexities of the human brain is an intricate system of cells known as Neurons.

To put it simply, the prime specialization of neurons is to transmit information from one neuron to another. This information is stored in electrical currents and chemical signals termed “Neurotransmitters”. All Neurons are electrically excitable, which means that their membrane voltage levels can change. This voltage is moderated through the use of Ion pumps . If a neuron wants to send a signal, then what it does is that it heightens it’s potential difference through the use of ion channels  until it reaches an apex of voltage and is forced to release the signals in a cascade of chemicals and/or electricity. After a bout of activity, the system returns to impassivity. To use a (heavily simplified) mechanical analogy, imagine that the brain is like a plumbing system, and that Neurons are pipes and that the electrical signals and ions are the fluid flowing through.


The Physiology of Neurons are very simple. The Neurons take in information the use of Dendrites (the branches out of the cell body of the picture). The cell body is know in the Scientific community as the “soma”. Electrical signals and ions are transmitted through the use of axons (the long tube like structure), and when they reach the ends known as the axon terminals, The voltage buildup starts and given time the synapses on the ends of the axon terminals permits electrical and chemical signals to be sent across.


Neurons have three types of specializations. Motor Neurons are used to send signals to control muscle movement, Sensor Neurons are used to yield information about senses such as pain and smell (or both if you leave out food for too long). And finally, Interneurons are used to transmit information between cells.


Neurons are a most peculiar facet of the human brain. It is utterly astounding to contemplate that such infinitesimal objects (around 4*10-6 meters in diameter) play such a pivotal role in the interplay of biological cognition. And what is even more intriguing is that there is so much more to learn about the human brain, and it it up to the explorers of the future to figure it out. So if you’re interested, go to the library, ask your teachers, and look online for any information you can find. Or even better yet, find out for yourself and spend a career in research.


Best regards

Isaac A. Gendler