To put the topic of the article in the most extremely generalized way possible: What can we tell about something from how it looks?
|Examples of neuronal architecture, as drawn by |
Santiago Ramon y Cajal, the father of neuroanatomy
We can examine the teeth of a great white shark and assume that it's a vicious predator. Or we can see a giraffe's long neck and suspect that it needs to reach high places to survive. Structure often gives us many clues about function. And this is true in neuroscience too. A neuron with a broad, elaborate arbor of processes (see right) is more likely to receive and integrate diverse information than a neuron with only a few simple processes.
However, the story of form & function is usually much more complicated. Especially when dealing with heterogeneous populations -- groups of neurons with distinct properties all living