Cells of the Nervous System (Gray Matter) by Jennifer R. Morgan, Ona Bloom

By Jennifer R. Morgan, Ona Bloom

Examine the variation among the 2 major varieties of cells within the apprehensive method: neurons and glial cells.

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She and her colleagues cut the brain samples into very thin slices and examined them under the microscope. When she did this, Diamond discovered that certain regions of Einstein’s brain contained almost twice the number of glia, the non-neuronal 28 supporting brain cells, compared to the number found in the average adult human male. In contrast, the number of neurons in Einstein’s brain was normal. Interestingly, the largest increase in the number of glia was found in the association cortex, a region where complex brain functions such as attention, analysis, and planning occur.

In 1986, Levi-Montalcini and Stanley Cohen received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, one of the most distinguished scientific awards. 6 (A) A ganglion without NGF. (B) A ganglion treated with NGF. Note the massive neurite outgrowth that occurs in the presence of NGF. BUILDING SYNAPSES Once the growth cone reaches its target, it begins to make the appropriate connections with the target neurons or muscles. Initially, the target is supplied with many more axons than are necessary. Each axon begins forming synapses onto the target.

Glial cells continue to divide and grow throughout your life, resulting in an increase in the overall size of the brain. A bigger mystery is exactly what keeps the glial cells from overmultiplying. When this unlikely event occurs, a cancerous brain tumor is formed. Therefore, many treatments for brain cancer are aimed at preventing glial cells from overmultiplying. 1 The major types of glia in the central nervous system are called astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia. Glial cells are incapable of producing the action potentials that are used by neurons for rapid communication.

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