Sunday, July 31, 2011

Learned a new word: the "Connectome"

I always enjoy learning new words, and I came across one this morning connected to one of my latest interests-brain research-and it's called the connectome. Here's an excerpt from the article Brain's Connectome from Branch to Branch appearing on Neuroscience News:

"With some 70 billion neurons and hundreds of thousands of kilometres of circuits, the human brain is so complex that, for many years, it seemed impossible to reconstruct the network in detail. Each neuron is linked to about a thousand others by means of finely branched projections called dendrites and axons, and communicates with them using electrical signals. The connections between the cells are critical for brain function, so neuroscientists are keen to understand the structure of these circuits – the connectome – and to reconstruct it in a three-dimensional map."

According to connectomes.org a connectome is a "synapse-resolution mapping of connections between all neurons in a model organism's brain. In other words, a synapse-resolution circuit diagram of the brain."
You may wonder why I've included this information on this site, and that's a good question. The answer is that it's vital to understand how the brain works so that we can apply it to our educational practices and help our students learn better. Simple as that.
Thanks once again to Howard Eaton-brainchange on Twitter-for tweeting about this article. If you're on Twitter you should definitely follow him.

No comments: