Friday, November 15, 2013

Dendrites and Dendritic Spines, 2 of 2

The term dendrite likely comes from a Greek word meaning “tree.” Dendrites are the branches projections from a neuron that are able to conduct the electrochemical stimulation from other neurons to the cell body of the neuron from which the dendrites project. Meaning that the dendrites pull information into the cell so learning can take place. If a brain is enriched, estimates are that each neuron may have thousands of dendrites. Recently, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have discovered that dendrites do more than passively relay information—they actively process information, according to Spencer Smith, PhD, an assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine. The dendritic spikes apparently “increase the selectivity of neuronal responses to the orientation of a visual stimulus (orientation tuning). Dendritic spines may have something to do with your ability to process visual information.

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