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BrainFacts.org

Introduction

Every minute of every day, the billions of cells in our brains send and receive signals that influence everything from the memories we form to the emotions we feel. Upon receiving new information, a nerve cell transmits an electrical signal, triggering the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters at special locations called synapses. These chemicals act as messengers, passing along instructions that switch nearby cells on or off. By studying the everyday chatter between nerve cells, researchers hope to better understand communication breakdowns that might contribute to brain disorders. New tools and technologies in molecular and cellular biology are helping scientists track cell communication. Ongoing studies in animals and humans are linking deficits in neurotransmitter production and release to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. These insights could one day guide scientists to develop new drugs for these and other brain disorders.

Discoveries

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Your brain’s electrical signals travel from node to node in their journey along nerve axons.
Source:
Signals from the retina must make their way through the eye to the brain.
Source: Society for Neuroscience

You have probably heard about neurons, but what about neuroglia? Discover the important role that neuroglia play in the brain with this video. 

Source: Society for Neuroscience
The messages sent from one brain cell to another are the basis of brain function. Brain cells communicate through both electrical and chemical means.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
Chemical reactions within brain cells translate the neurotransmitter message for the neuron.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
Molecules that are important in brain development may help treat or prevent brain injuries and disorders.

Cell Communication in the News

Source: The Guardian
Date: 3 May 2014
A citizen science project to map neural connections in the retina may have answered the long-standing question of how our eyes detect motion.
Source: LiveScience
Date: 1 May 2014
Brain scans are now starting to peer down to the molecular level, revealing what brain cells are telling one another, researchers say. 
Source: Nature
Date: 23 April 2014
Gene therapy aids performance of cochlear implants in guinea pigs.