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Introduction: From Neurons to the Mind

  • Aurel I. Popescu
  • Ioan Opris
Chapter
Part of the Springer Series in Cognitive and Neural Systems book series (SSCNS, volume 11)

Abstract

We begin with the introduction of the general biophysics relevant concepts for the nervous system that will be discussed in more detail in the next chapters of the book. The first step deals with the neuron: the fundamental morphological and functional unit of the human nervous system (HNS). It is known that HNS (i.e., central nervous system, CNS and peripheral nervous system, PNS) consist of about 86 billion neurons (Azevedo et al. 2009; Herculano-Houzel 2009) without taking into account the glial cells that outnumber neurons by tenfold, and astrocytes. However, it is interesting to note that astronomers estimate the number of stars in the Milky Way as being about 400 billion, that is, only five times the number of HNS neurons! It seems that glia has only the role to insulate, support, and nourish the neighbor neurons, construct axon myelin, repair brain injury, although this simple view merely reflects our ignorance about glial function (Bear et al. 2001).

Keywords

Biophysics neuron resting potential action potential excitable membrane ionic channel synapse spine plasticity mind 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electricity, Physics of Solid and Biophysics, Faculty of PhysicsUniversity of BucharestBucharestRomania
  2. 2.Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, Department of Neurological Surgery, Miller School of Medicine University of MiamiMiamiUSA
  3. 3.Department of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of Agronomical Sciences and Veterinary MedicineBucharestRomania

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