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Brain cells

  1. Jun 9, 2010 #1
    I was reading about how the brain is formed early on in life, but I have a few questions left. You are born with all yor brain cells (if this is not correct let me know) and when we first start to observe the world these cells start to wire themselves to other brain cells. So if a 1 year old is told this is a leaf. Then your brain will wire the word leaf to green, to shape, to tree etc. What I want to know is the first time we percieve the color green is it stored in a group of cells or is it already there? Does this mean that all our perceptions are deteremined before we are 2? When we learn or see something new how does this information get stored if no new cells are formed?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2010 #2


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    The first time, neurons will respond to everything. So some particular neuron will respond as happily to green as to red. Then later the neurons sort themselves out. A neuron will become very specialised as to what it will respond to.

    This is a simplified explanation, but it is the basic principle - neurons and their networks become selective with experience. The physical explanation is that they start out by producing a proliferation of connections to their neighbours, which is why they will fire to any kind of stimulation, then they prune their connections to take up their specific roles.
  4. Jun 10, 2010 #3
    First of all, there are some new studies showing that in fact new neurons can be born during all your life.

    Moving on to the next part of your question, the key point about memory and is that connections between neurons (these connections are called synapses) seem to be a very important place where information is maintained. There are also some papers written by Hameroff in which he claims that the microtubules of the cytosceleton are quite important too. To be honest however, neuroscientists have not presented a complete theory about memory-perception yet.
  5. Jun 11, 2010 #4
    Putting the blame of holding information in new synapse development seems to me a little difficult. Is already proved that new cells and neurons can grow on adults, but is a far away road to credit then information hold. They way brain stores information is still completely unclear.
  6. Jun 11, 2010 #5
    Formation of new synapses has nothing to do with new neuron formation. New synapses are formed all time so different areas of brain get new communication pathways.

    There is also a process called synaptic plasticity, by which synapses are changing their "strength" so a specific memory/experience can be amplified or deadened (sorry for my english but i'm not sure that these two are the correct terms).

    All these of course are very general and extremely simplistic.
  7. Jun 11, 2010 #6
    The general problem in biology is that is very easy to get answers going deep and specific. Solving the real problems like memory and thinking, requires an out of box approach that can’t be fitted in grant forms… We already have lots of molecular information and very few clues how brain works.
  8. Jun 12, 2010 #7
    Personally i have the same feeling as you. I have an intuition that the classic neuroscientific approach is not enough to explain the great mysteries of the brain function imo. My previous post is the formal thesis of science. However, there are some neuroscientists (eg Hameroff) who believe that research should focus on the quantum mechanical properties of the neurons. Until now there is no conclusive evidence that this new direction is right or wrong so i guess we should wait and watch.
  9. Jun 12, 2010 #8
    The problem of the classical neuroscientific approach is from what you see they can’t have a small witted idea how memory and thinking works. We know well how impulses go in and out, but the central processing is still a mystery and no one good theory is out.
    I’m not calling for some supernatural theory, but magnetic field interaction on quantum level, cold help. Difficult is put these things on a bench and have a good experiment. Going to this path will imply some kind of physical energetic interface putting bosons to work.
  10. Jun 15, 2010 #9
    so are these cells empty when we are born and then full up as we first expereince the world. Then only the connection between then changes. Or do these cells already contain some sort of information before we are born and only the connections are made after?
  11. Jun 15, 2010 #10
    Anyone that already worked with lab mice can see that behavior have some genetic component. Lab mice are made to have exact the same genetic material. If you compare two separate lineages C57B6 an NZW, they have very distinct behavior.

    This means that genetic play a role in behavior. How this happens is still unclear.
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