• Question: How does our brain work?

    Asked by peter296 to Simon on 28 Apr 2020.
    • Photo: Simon Spichak

      Simon Spichak answered on 28 Apr 2020:

      Thanks for the question! Unfortunately we can’t answer this one just yet! In general, we can think of the brain as a very complicated biological circuit. We have different kinds of cells within the brain – mostly nerve cells called ‘neurons’, support cells called ‘astrocytes’ and cells that wrap around nerve cells to improve their speed called ‘oligodendrocytes’.

      Now our nerve cells can signal with each other, and if a certain pathway is used a lot, the brain adapts to improve these connections. Now if we have any connections that aren’t being used, they are cut away. Our nerve cells/neurons use electrical signals which can release neurochemicals to communicate. The oligodendrocytes provide insulation for this electrical signal, like wire insulation, and the astrocytes then help recycle any rubbish released by the cells, and helps nourish the neurons. That’s just the basics! Depending on what you want to learn about brain function, there are plenty of resources that I could point you towards. While we do know the basics of how the brain works, we’re still learning about it every single day! That’s what makes neuroscience so exciting!