Posts Tagged ‘think’

Test your brain knowledge: neurons think, glia glue?

I promised to tell you more about a remarkable book I read recently:

The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science, by Dr. R. Douglas Fields (2009).

Dr. Fields tells us about the two general types of cells in the brain: the neurons and the glia (glia means glue).

In a brilliant stroke, in his heading for Chapter One, Dr. Fields asks the creative question about glial cells:

“BUBBLE WRAP OR BRILLIANT GLUE?”

I have been helping kids overcome learning problems for more than 30 years, teaching them that we are all smarter than we think.

Dr. Fields tells us why.

Glial cells constitute 85% of our brain and they are thinking cells.

Glial cells are thinking cells?

We always thought that neurons did the thinking job. We always thought the glia were just there to hold things in place, to hold things together (glia means glue).

The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New  Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science

I had no idea that the “white matter” (the glial-cell brain) comprises 85% of our active learning brain, that it is an intrinsic part of our cognitive functioning.

We have been referencing only 15% all along (the neuronal-cell brain) and now we have the good news that we have more brain horsepower than we ever thought possible.

Thank you, Dr. Fields!

I am grateful that you have written about your astounding research findings in ordinary language and with incredible creativity, so that the everyday reader has no trouble following the details of your amazing discoveries.

Book cover photo from Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Other-Brain-Schizophrenia-Discoveries-Revolutionizing/dp/0743291417/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273644636&sr=1-1

………………………………………………………………………………………….

Hey, I’m the “brain guy.” I thought I knew a little bit about the brain, eh? [I guess the operative word is “little,” right?]

I’m dumbfounded.

We have been primarily referencing only 15% of the brain all along (the neuronal-cell brain) and now we have another 85% we can connect with for thinking purposes. This is great! Now maybe we can “smarten up,” eh? 😮

Previously we thought (we thought we thought with only the neuronal brain) that the glia were mainly for insulation and packing. “Stuffing” if you like. 😮

Now we find that glial cells not only insulate and protect, they control the electrical-firing neurons. Without using any electrical current! As the son of a Journeyman Electrician, I find this new discovery not easy to believe, eh?

– Doc Meek, May 11, 2010, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

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September 2020
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