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BrainFacts.org

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The Blood-Brain Barrier

Identifying new ways to bypass the brain’s elaborate security system may one day lead to better outcomes for patients with brain tumors or other neurological disorders.

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Nuts and Bolts: The Neuron

Neurons are highly specialised cells that conduct and process information in animals, enabling thought, perception and control of movement. Problems with neuronal function underpin a range of...

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Cranial Nerves

In perhaps the first catchy tune about cranial nerves, a graduate student explains why these 12 pairs of nerves are important.

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Introduction

Every thought and action is controlled by the brain — the body’s most complex organ. The brain is divided into functional units with particular tasks, like processing visual information or responding to fearful experiences. Each of these units is made up of brain cells that work together. These cells also form connections with cells in other functional units, creating communication routes for brain signals. Using new tools to tag and trace brain circuits, scientists are working to better understand how the human brain is organized to perform its many functions. Ongoing studies in animals and people are helping scientists recognize the many different types of brain cells and the roles they play. In addition, imaging technology is helping map brain regions responsible for specific functions and behaviors.

Discoveries

Glia: Earning Some Respect

Source: Dana Foundation
A growing number of studies suggest glial cells play a vital role in brain function, which when disrupted can have severe consequences.

His and Hers: Sex Differences in the Brain

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Studying sex differences in the brain may one day lead to new information about brain illnesses that affect one sex more than the other.

Does practice make perfect?

Source: Society for Neuroscience
While experts debate the type and length of practice that is optimal for success, one thing is clear: training improves performance and changes the brain.

Neurons: A Curious Collection of Shapes and Sizes

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Neurons — the nerve cells that make up the brain and nervous system — look different from all other cells in the body. And from one another.

Mapping the Brain

Source: Society for Neuroscience
The cerebrum, the largest part of the human brain, is associated with higher order functioning, including the control of voluntary behavior. Thinking, perceiving, planning, and understanding language all lie within the cerebrum’s control.

Brain, Brain, The Magical Fruit

Source: Society for Neuroscience

Neuroscience terminology flows better in rap form. Learn about neuroscience from the second place winner of the 2011 Brain Awareness Video Contest.

Neuroanatomy in the News

Suite of Methods Yields Complex Model of Neuronal Junctions

Source: Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date: 2 July 2014
Researchers debuted a three-dimensional model of an average synapse, the point of connection between neurons.

Scientists Visualize Entire Nervous System of Worm in Real-Time 3D

Source: NOVA
Date: 20 May 2014
The entire web of a nematode's neural activity has been captured in real time.

All Circuits Are Busy

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.