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Sparsely Connected Neurons: A Smarter Brain

It is estimated that the average human brain has about 100 billion neurons or nerve cells. What is a neuron and how does it work? A neuron is a cell that can be electrically stimulated. It is a cell that transmits and processes information by method of electro-chemical signaling. The neurons unlike other cells do no divide. The only time these cells divide is during the fetal development for new cells to be created a process known as neurogenesis. These cells do not die to be replaced by new cells. However, these cells cannot be replaced once they are lost. Till the age of eighteen years these cells grow in size and are designed to last for a lifetime.

A neuron is a bulbous cell body which holds within it a cell nucleus known as the Soma. The Soma has feathery filaments that are a complex branching system attached to the cell body known as the dendrites or the dendritic tree. All neurons maintain a voltage gradient across its membrane. The metabolic differences of the ions of chemicals like sodium, potassium, chloride and calcium present within each cell, each has a different charge. When there is a significant change in the voltage an electrochemical pulse is generated. This pulse moves rapidly along the cell’s axon and is transferred to other neurons through specialized connection known as synapse from one neuron to another.

A recent research says that a more intelligent brain has fewer connections between neurons in the cerebral cortex. In other words an intelligent brain posses lean but very efficient neuronal connections.


By: Madhuchanda Saxena



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