General Neuroscience

General Neuroscience

In our general neuroscience column, we explore a range of topics, from interesting neurological effects to neuroanatomy. Read here to find all things neuroscience!

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Basics of Neuroscience I: A Cellular View of the Brain

Basics of Neuroscience I: A Cellular View of the Brain


Introduction     Hello, reader, and welcome to the YNCA’s Basics of Neuroscience Course. This course will help provide a basic understanding of how the brain and nervous system works.  Throughout our issues, we will explain every facet of neuroscience, from the level of massive connected systems to the level of discrete cell...

An Overview of What Happens When We Sleep

An Overview of What Happens When We Sleep


    Sleep is vital to the human body, but can often seem like a pain or a nuisance to any six-year-old. Scientists have long thought of sleep as a mystery, not understanding why we spent 1/3 of our lives on our pillows. Nevertheless, ancient scientists understood that sleep was important: our bodies tell us this every night when we experi...

A Brief History of Neuroscience

A Brief History of Neuroscience


Pre-Modern     For thousands of years, humans have been fascinated with their unique intelligence and computational abilities.  The source of this wonderful power has been a mystery since ancient times. Some early humans, recognizing the importance of the brain, drilled holes in the skulls of the diseased (in a process known as &l...

Basics of Neuroscience III: Neuronal Communication

Basics of Neuroscience III: Neuronal Communication


    Hello YNCA readers, and welcome to our third Basics of Neuroscience lesson. Today, we will explain how neurons communicate with each other. Last month, we explained how each neuron acts as an independent relay stations. In this issue, we hope to discuss the molecular events underlying communication between neurons. These first three l...

Basics of Neuroscience II: An Introduction to Internal Neural Communication

Basics of Neuroscience II: An Introduction to Internal Neural Communication


    Hello, readers of YNCA Journal, and welcome back to the Basics of Neuroscience course, presented by the YNCA Executive Board. In last week’s lesson, we discussed the basic structure of neurons. We also touched upon basic neural communication, discussing synapses and neurotransmitters. In this edition, we will go further in depth...

The Brain of a Honeybee

The Brain of a Honeybee


Abstract Honeybees differentiate themselves from other insects due to their ability to practice advanced cognition. Scientists have determined this by studying  honeybees’ process of “foraging”. Worker bees are able to communicate to other bees in the hive the distance and angle at which a food source is found. By being ab...

Basics of Neuroscience V: Addiction

Basics of Neuroscience V: Addiction


Introduction In society, drug abuse and addiction is often perceived as solely the result of poor life choices.  As a consequence of this view, addicts-- who are certainly suffering enough already-- are stigmatized by society.       Such a perspective flies in the face of neuroscience. A plethora of research has shown...

Basics of Neuroscience VI: An Introduction to Neuroanatomy

Basics of Neuroscience VI: An Introduction to Neuroanatomy


Introduction Like most complex organ systems, the nervous system is composed of many parts. One can consider the brain on the scale of hemispheres, regions, neural circuits, individual neurons, or even on molecules. In previous editions of Basics of Neuroscience, we have considered the cellular composition of the brain, neural communication (bot...

The Neuroscience Behind Imagination, or what we imagine it to be

The Neuroscience Behind Imagination, or what we imagine it to be


Abstract The word imagination came from the Latin word ‘imagio’ or ‘imagin’, which simply means ‘image’. This word soon evolved and became ‘imaginari’, which means ‘to imagine oneself’. We have changed and edited this word and its meaning to such an extent that it now means ‘the f...

Significance of Chaperone Proteins, Cisplatin-Effect Inducing Genes and Ribosomal p53 activator genes in Glioma

Significance of Chaperone Proteins, Cisplatin-Effect Inducing Genes and Ribosomal p53 activator genes in Glioma


Abstract Glioma consists of cancers involving the glial cells of the nervous system; types of gliomas include astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and brainstem glioma [1]. There are currently numerous treatments and therapies for all types of gliomas, but none of them are as effective as they should be; mainly because there is only a < 10% surv...

The Role of The Right Hemisphere in Language

The Role of The Right Hemisphere in Language


Introduction Before the breakthroughs of Broca and Wernicke, the notion of language regions was based on observations in patients with brain injuries. This was not able to directly determine the brain areas in which language is localized. This researchers studied their patients and found that certain parts in certain regions lead to damage to la...

The Neurology Behind The Placebo Effect

The Neurology Behind The Placebo Effect


Abstract The power of mind over matter has fascinated scientists and doctors for decades. Naturally, we associate treating diseases with beneficial outcomes, allowing even placebos ─nonfunctional treatments─ to stimulate pain relief. In the past, the placebo effect has been coined a sham, but studies have proved that  placebos often have as...

Neural Basis of Positive Behavior:  Resilience

Neural Basis of Positive Behavior: Resilience


Introduction Every human being in the course of his life goes through various situations before which he must give an answer in order to maintain his personal stability. This response can be both positive and negative, which will determine the impact that he will have as a functioning member of society, since he will be able to make the choice o...

Basics of Neuroscience IV: Learning and Memory

Basics of Neuroscience IV: Learning and Memory


Hello YNCA readers, and welcome to our fourth Basics of Neuroscience lesson. Today, we will explain how neuronal bonds grow and decrease in strength to form memories and allow us to learn. Last month, we explained the molecular and chemical basis for neural communication, and provided a basic overview of the most common neurotransmitters and neuror...

Cognitive Maps Part 1: The GPS Within

Cognitive Maps Part 1: The GPS Within


Introduction Everyday, we make our way out of our beds to the bathroom or drive home from work or school all without getting lost or relying on our devices for navigation. It has become second nature to interact with these spaces and the objects within them to such an extent that that these interactions happen without much thought. There is, how...

The Brain: Origins and Destinies

The Brain: Origins and Destinies


Abstract The brain is a small, three-pound jelly-like mass that we can hold in our hands. And yet, within this little blob, lies everything that makes the vast majority of our fauna who they truly are. It has birthed various inventions, such as the wheel and the hydraulic screw; made amazing discoveries, such as fire and electricity; and develop...

A Molecular Approach to Addiction: ΔFosB

A Molecular Approach to Addiction: ΔFosB


Introduction Ravaging communities, tearing apart families, and ruining livelihoods, addiction is undoubtedly one of the most costly afflictions-- both socially and financially-- in the United States today. In 2013, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated that 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were illic...

The Vast Endeavors of Neuroscience

The Vast Endeavors of Neuroscience


Abstract The human brain is perhaps the most complex piece of biological machinery known to man, trumping the central nervous systems’ of all living specimens. With dualistic functions ranging from logical reasoning to subliminal-self control over circadian rhythms, the “command center” of the body remains an underlying mechani...

Adult Neurogenesis: Then and Now

Adult Neurogenesis: Then and Now


Abstract Whether or not new neurons are born in the adult mammalian brain has been the topic of much debate in the early years of neuroscience. After the discovery that neurogenesis does indeed occur in the mammalian brain, it was hard for many to believe it was so. However, various studies with indisputable results supporting adult neurogenesis...

Drugs and Toxicology

Drugs and Toxicology


Abstract Drugs have always attracted human attention. Drugs have a central role in human evolution thanks to their therapeutic potential to help humans cope with illnesses and disease. However, drugs can also have very serious negative effects on health due to their capacities to influence human physiology. This article discusses the influences ...

Mirror Neurons and Empathy

Mirror Neurons and Empathy


Introduction Have you ever cried, screamed, squirmed, or flinched during a movie?  Most of us have. But why exactly do these reactions occur? The images that appear on a movie screen are, after all, just images on a movie screen.  So how do these pixelated slideshows elicit such complex yet appropriate responses in the human brain? Tha...

Pharmacology of Everyday Life

Pharmacology of Everyday Life


Caffeine     Nearly everyone understands that coffee can help people wake up in the mornings or stay awake during late nights, but far fewer understand exactly how it does this. One key pharmacological effect of caffeine is its competitive inhibition of the adenosine receptor. Adenosine, a dephosphorylated form of ATP, signals the shor...

Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

Neurobiology of Learning and Memory


Introduction Learning and memory are both fundamental parts of our lives that make us who we are as individuals. Even by definition, learning and memory go hand in hand: while memory is a behavioral change caused by an experience, learning is a process that allows us to acquire memories [1]. Everything we learn starts with a new experience, and ...

The Neuroscience Behind Education

The Neuroscience Behind Education


Introduction The question regarding the role of neuroscience in modern education is one that has interested both researchers and educators over the past few decades. As the understanding of cognitive development expands and new studies overturn entrenched beliefs while reaffirming select traditional practices, the field of neuroeducation is incr...

Cognitive Neuroscience:  A Critical Social Review

Cognitive Neuroscience: A Critical Social Review


Introduction Each human being has different ways of expressing themselves and acquiring notions about their environment, their actions, and their internal states to achieve a personal balance. This balance forms their identity, characterizes their behavior, and guides their particular interpretation of the world. These expressions are represente...

Neuroinflammation: Friend, Foe, or Both?

Neuroinflammation: Friend, Foe, or Both?


Introduction Thanks to the blood-brain-barrier (BBB)—a structure made from specialised endothelial cells that prevents the passage of immune cells from the blood into the extracellular fluid of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system)—the brain enjoys a special immunological privilege. However, research over the past few deca...

The Role of Genetics in Neuroscience

The Role of Genetics in Neuroscience


Introduction The elusive nature of genetics has drawn much attention from a great number of neuroscientists and physicians. The genomic lock that contains the secrets behind thousands of disease states, pathophysiologies, and cellular mechanisms have been arduously studied ever since Mendel’s publication of "Experiments on Plant Hybri...

Decision making in the adolescent brain

Decision making in the adolescent brain


Abstract Adolescence is a developmental period between childhood and adulthood.  It is often associated with suboptimal decision making, leading to risky actions such as increased incidence of unintentional injuries, violence, substance abuse, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) [1]. Teenagers are sometimes consid...

Descriptive Approach of Human Visual Perception of Physical World reality

Descriptive Approach of Human Visual Perception of Physical World reality


Abstract The interpretation of what we view and how we see the physical world is referred to as visual perception. Our brain processes what our eyes congregate, creating a perception that sometimes is not parallel with reality. The brain has a peculiarity of acting in a bizarre way of perceiving the subjective physical reality of the objective s...

Neurolinguistics: The Intersection of Language and the Brain

Neurolinguistics: The Intersection of Language and the Brain


Abstract: This article aims to provide an introduction to neurolinguistics, a subcategory of linguistics which is broadly concerned about the structure and use of language [3]. It is also related to psycholinguistics, which focuses on the relationship between language and psychological processes such as language acquisition [10]. This article ex...