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BrainFacts.org

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

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Neurons rely on proteins to determine their jobs in the nervous system.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Neuroanatomy in the News

Source: Discovery News
Date: 20 Aug 2014
The reason our brains have that wrinkly, walnut shape may be that the rapid growth of the brain's outer brain -- the gray matter -- is constrained by the white matter, a new study shows.
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.
Source: NOVA
Date: 20 May 2014
The entire web of a nematode's neural activity has been captured in real time.
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