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Meera Seth's picture

A Chaotic Brain

According to a new study conducted by German scientists at the University of Bonn and published in the online edition of the Nature Neuroscience journal, the brain appears to function and process data more chaotically than previously believed. These researchers claim that the standard model in which information is received and transferred from neuron to neuron does not only occur at the synapses. This study suggests that neurons release chemical messengers along the full length of the extensions, thereby stimulating the neighboring cells.

More specifically, the researchers studied the "white matter" in rats' brains. This part of the brain holds the linkages between the left and right halves. These links are comprised of axons and ancillary cells, however notably lack dendrites and synapses. This implies that one would not expect to witness the release of messengers in this area of the brain. However, the scientists were capable of showing that certain cells in the white matter react to glutamate, a key neurotransmitter which is released when signals are found at synapses.

If correct, this groundbreaking discovery not only shatters widely validated findings about the brain and its fundamental mechanisms, but could also potentially lead to the development of new drug therapies.


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