Wired Up!!!!!!!

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Wired Up!!!!!!!

by Goodbook on Tue Feb 04, 2020 12:38 PM

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As I studied anatomy, I saw how well-designed and complex living things are. To attribute such a high level of sophistication to an unguided process no longer made sense to me.

I have studied the human brain since the early 1970’s, and this remarkable organ never ceases to amaze me. It is the seat of thought and memory and the control center for many bodily functions. The brain is also the hub of our many senses, interpreting information that comes from both inside and outside the body.

Our brain functions the way it does largely because of its complex chemistry and intricate networks of neurons, the primary brain cells. The human brain has many billions of neurons, which communicate with one another through long fibers called axons. From these, a single neuron may make many thousands of connections with other neurons by way of branching fibers called dendrites. As a result, the total number of connections in the brain is astronomical! What is more, this dense forest of neurons and dendrites is, not chaotic, but precise. It is an amazing feat of “wiring.”

The wiring progresses in a most orderly way during a baby’s development in the womb as well as postnatally. Neurons send out fibers to target neurons that may be a few centimeters away?—a vast distance on the cellular level. The target of a fiber, by the way, may be not just a specific cell but a specific part of that cell.

As a new fiber branches out from a neuron, it is guided by chemical signposts that say such things as “stop,” “go,” or “turn” until the fiber reaches its target. Without clear instructions, growing fibers would soon get lost. The whole process is brilliantly orchestrated, starting with the instructions written in our DNA.

That said, we are far from understanding fully how the brain develops and functions, including how it forms memories, emotions, and thoughts. For me, just the fact that the brain works?—not to mention how well it works and how beautifully it develops—?points to a mind far superior to our own.

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