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Specialty Chemistry Forums => Biochemistry and Chemical Biology Forum => Topic started by: Corvettaholic on April 30, 2004, 03:41:50 PM

Title: Neurons
Post by: Corvettaholic on April 30, 2004, 03:41:50 PM
How do neurons work? I know they're a funny spidery looking thing, and they help send electricity all over the place, but thats about it. Do they work like a transistor, or an AND/OR gate or something?
Title: Re:Neurons
Post by: billnotgatez on April 30, 2004, 09:08:57 PM
It takes a whole semester to discuss the way muscles and nerves work. Things discussed are
cellular sodium / potassium pump (calcium facilitates ) ,
neurotransmitters like acetylcholine that transfer electrochemical signals across synapses ,
myelin sheath along the nerve fiber for insulation,
and the neural net that transmits multiple signals not just yes and no.
Let us see if someone can put the whole topic in just 1 paragraph - I could not

Title: Re:Neurons
Post by: gregpawin on April 30, 2004, 10:33:33 PM
I went to a surface science conference in UC San Diego a while back and one of the last presentations was about neurons... since we were all physical chemists, he cracked a joke by clarifying that his talk was about neurons not neutrons.

Anyhow, he was using physical chemistry methods to do studies on neurons through a program that hooks up different kinds of scientists that wouldn't otherwise work together (biologists and physical chemists).  He used some kind of contact printing technique to make channels of micron size and see if there was a minimum channel width for new neuron growth.. and there was.  He also used AFM force measurements to analyze the type of bonds being made in neurons.  

The whole thing was pretty freaky...  he was using some using some pretty strickly physical methods to analyze biological systems.  I see this as a trend in biology where chemists and more physical scientists are encroaching into biological studies but specialize to the nth degree to study one particular aspect of a biological system down to its bonds.