Monday, November 2, 2015
Think with Your Brain
You can think because of neurons in your brain; cells that have a propensity to exchange information with each other. Researchers believe these neurons talk to each other almost constantly using electrical and chemical transmission. Sometimes you are aware of their chatter at a conscious level, but much more often they are communicating at a subconscious level. The brain contains an estimated 86 billion neurons, give or take a few billion. About 1.3 billion are in the cerebral cortex or gray matter, while 69 billion are in the cerebellum. You may recall from high school biology that a neuron has a cell body or soma and a relatively large axon projecting from the cell body that allows information to leave the neuron. Depending on your height, some of these axons (the ones going down to your big toe, for example) can be a meter or more in length. Each neuron also has many tiny filaments projecting from the cell body called dendrites. These little finger-like projections absorb information and put it into the cell so you can 'think' about it. In some forms of mental retardation, it is believed that the neurons have insufficient or malformed numbers of dendrites. So the neuron can be exposed to information but it isn't absorbed and pulled into the neuron.