This week (March 12-16) has been designated National Brain Awareness Week. To promote brain awareness on campus the neurobiology class (BIOL 354) has summarized a few interesting facts about brain biology for you. For example, did you know these brain-related facts?
- Brain cells are not limited in number as once thought. You are adding brain cells each day. How long these cells survive seems to depend upon your degree of brain "stimulation" (and exercise).
- Brain cell connections (synapses) can change very quickly. These changes (on a time scale of seconds to minutes) are associated with learning.
- Addiction is a corruption of learning pathways in the brain. Some chemicals "rewire" normally helpful paths — and we "learn" harmful habits.
- Brain cells can be transplanted as therapies for some diseases and brain damage.
- Getting enough sleep is a major problem for the U.S. population. Brain mechanisms for sleep are being uncovered — but surprisingly little is known about sleep biology. Recent discoveries have revealed that specific chemical signals are related to the debilitating syndrome of narcolepsy.
- Brain related research is an active area of investigation for UST undergraduates and faculty.
To promote brain awareness here at UST, the neurobiology class (BIOL 354) has prepared a brief pamphlet about these topics. You can get your copy in Owens Science Hall (look for the periodical holders).
The neurology class hopes that your brain finds these topics fascinating — and stimulating — and that the ideas help you plug into brain biology.