Friday, May 09, 2008

The plot thickens...

The plot thickens as they say... And this time it's about glue!

Only since somewhat recently, scientists discovered that the glial cells around the neurons may be a bit more active than just removing waste and feeding the neurons. Read more about glial cells here.

Actually, there are 10-15 more glial cells than neurons. So if you thought 100 billion was a lot of cells, there's 10-15 times more of that in supporting cells.

The cells are mostly responsible for maintenance. So they regulate the chemicals, clean up waste, regulate blood supply. But they also produce a myelin sheath around the axon (helping it to fire) and can also act as scaffolding for the generation of new neurons.

So, you could say that glials are the implementation of the rules to create and maintain the network on a microscopic level. During its lifetime, it continuously checks the environment and can actually reshape the network on a local level. This is interesting, because then we know that there are complicated and active maintenance functions on the neural network taking place.


Anonymous said...

Hi there, Gerard! How are things going back in Netherlands? :-)

Gerard Toonstra said...

Opa! Alvaro! Como vai, mermao?
Things are going fine here. I see that you are more into game development?

Hang tight and feel free to read through my blog. Keep in touch!