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Introduction to the Basic Biology of the Brain E-mail

 

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The goal of this website is to give support to people who are feeling depressed and unhappy with their lives. I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I have a background in neuroscience and behavioral sciences and I am currently doing brain research in university in my home country. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world.

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Structural and functional organization of the brain

The brain is an amazing device. Your brain is responsible of everything you feel.

The brain is divided into various differentiated areas that are responsible of different kinds of functions. For example, visual cortex is located at the back of the brain, whereas auditory cortex is located at the temporal lobes. Various experiments have helped scientists to understand better the vast complexity of the brain.

Different areas in the brain are dedicated to processing of different kind of sensory information. For example, when one keeps one's eyes open, cells in the retina are being exposed to the rays of light. These photoreceptor cells are sensitive to light and change their activity pattern when they are exposed to light. The signal gets transmitted deeper into the brain via optical nerve originating from retina. Finally information is being delivered to visual cortex, an area in the brain that is dedicated to processing of visual information. From here the information gets transmitter further into the brain, where it gets combined with other kind of information, finally resulting in a conscious thought.

It is currently not known how the brain processes huge amount of information it receives every second and how this information is transformed into a coherent thought. For a long time there was a debate among neuroscientists regarding the existence of so-called "grandmother" cells. "A grandmother cell" refers to a single cell that is activated as a response to a certain stimuli, for example when you see your grandmother. In accordance with this, there should be another cell that is activated when you see your grandfather, yet another cell that is activated when you see your dog, etc.

Nowadays this view is slowly subsiding as scientists have started to believe that brain is processing information in a parallel fashion. Parallel processing means that the information (whether you are looking at your grandfather or your grandmother) is preserved in the overall activity of the neuronal network and in the state of the activity of the network at a given time point, rather than in the activity of certain individual cells. Accumulating evidence is implying that this parallel activity of several cells or groups of cells is responsible of encoding of a given stimulus.

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To read more, please see sections Depression - General and Depression - Science.



 
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