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BrainFacts.org

Introduction

In the brain, nerve cells never work alone. In a neural circuit, the activity of one cell directly influences many others. To gain insight into how these interactions control brain function, researchers are exploring the connections between nerve cells and how they change over time. This insight could lead scientists to a better understanding of how the nervous system develops and the ways disease or injury disrupts the natural rhythms of brain cell communication. With new imaging technology, scientists are now better able to visualize circuits connecting brain regions in humans. In addition, advances in genetic engineering, microscopy, and computing are enabling scientists to begin to map the connections between individual nerve cells in animals better than ever before. These findings may one day shed light on disorders scientists suspect arise from errors in neural network development, including autism and schizophrenia.

Discoveries

Source: Society for Neuroscience
What can a ticklish turtle teach us about how the spinal cord is organized?
Source: Society for Neuroscience
When the retina needs a boost, its cells signal to local blood vessels to open up, allowing them easy access to oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood.
Source: Society for Neuroscience

Everybody gets thirsty. The urge to drink fluids is a natural instinct regulated by a negative feedback loop between the brain and other organs in the body.

Neuroscience in the News

Source: Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date: 5 Aug 2014
Researchers measure how brain networks work together by scanning volunteers' brains either while they're resting passively or while they're engaged in a task.
Source: New York Times
Date: 26 May 2014
A brain researcher conveys a sense of unlimited possibility in brain mapping, predicting it may be achieved in 20 to 30 years.
Source: The Boston Globe
Date: 14 May 2014
Scientists from Harvard University have discovered brain circuits in mice that control parental behavior, and they were able to induce abrupt transformations.
Read more about neuroscience core concepts for the U. S. National Science Education Standards.