Category archives: Neurobiology

Communication breakdown: schizophrenia as the outcome of subtle neuronal dysfunction

Communication breakdown: schizophrenia as the outcome of subtle neuronal dysfunction

BiomedicineNeurobiology

By Carlos Romá-Mateo

The functioning of the human brain goes far beyond a bunch of cells packed together; each of them is able to produce, receive, and transform electrical signals into a concrete response that affects the neighboring cells, counted by hundreds. This image is already complex, but if we say that the electric signals are constituted by […]

The quest for the elementary motion detector in the fly

The quest for the elementary motion detector in the fly

Neurobiology

By Francisco J Hernández

Cajal famously described the fly visual system as “stupendous, indeed disconcerting, and with no precedent in other animals”. By comparison, the vertebrate retina seemed “gross and deplorably simple”. Now we know that this simplicity is only apparent, but we can use the more clearly structured fly retina to help us study basic problems in visual […]

The (energetical) cost of having a brain

The (energetical) cost of having a brain

Neurobiology

By Jorge Mejías

Our brain constitutes one of the finest pieces of natural machinery known, and it allows us to efficiently interact with our environment: searching for food, avoiding predators, communicating with other individuals, and even some more sophisticated stuff — like enjoying a well composed piece of classical (or rock) music. However, all this comes at a […]

Carbon nanotubes to study neuron activity

Carbon nanotubes to study neuron activity

BiomedicineMaterialsNeurobiologyPhysicsPhysiology

By Francisco R. Villatoro

Human brain has about 85 billion neurons. Each neuron forms thousands of chemical and electrical synapses with other neurons. To record the synaptic activity of each neuron in the brain an intracellular probe with a millivolt scale is required. Glass electrodes are widely used, but they are fragile and they have high impedance. An intracellular […]

Mysterious vaults and neuronal regeneration

Mysterious vaults and neuronal regeneration

Molecular biologyNeurobiology

By Carlos Romá-Mateo

From a certain point of view, eukaryotic cells could be described as microscopic power plants equipped with factories and energy-generating platforms, inside of which highways and compartments are constantly built and rebuilt, and a fluent traffic provides a constant recycling of structures while getting rid of garbage. The trafficking also involves material coming in and […]

The mechanical eye

The mechanical eye

Neurobiology

By Francisco J Hernández

About 95% of the photoreceptors in our retina are rods, which we use for nocturnal vision, since they can detect single photons. During the day, rods saturate, and we use the other 5% of photoreceptors, the cones, which mediate color vision and do not saturate even at the highest light levels. There is still a […]