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BrainFacts.org

A PUBLIC INFORMATION
INITIATIVE OF:

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  • Gatsby
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Image of the Week: Sensing Space or Moving Muscles?

Scientists are rethinking the role of nerve endings once thought to be involved in providing spatial information to the brain.

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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

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.


Mirror Neurons

Source: Society for Neuroscience

The ability to instinctively and immediately understand what other people are experiencing has long baffled neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers alike. Research now suggests a fascinating explanation: brain cells called mirror neurons.

Neuroanatomy in the News

Artists 'Have Structurally Different Brains'

Source: BBC
Date: 17 April 2014
Artists have structurally different brains compared with non-artists, a study has found.

Watch Proteins Do the Jitterbug

Source: New York Times
Date: 10 April 2014
The animators who produced the video hit “The Inner Life of a Cell” are back with a look at the messy, chaotic dance performed by molecules in a neuron. Carl Zimmer.

Scientists Unveil First Wiring Diagram of Mouse's Brain

Source: Reuters
Date: 2 April 2014
Scientists created a map showing the sinuous connections that neurons make throughout the mouse brain as they form functional circuits.