Know Your Neurons: Their Discovery and Naming

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Amygdala. Corpus Collosum. Dendritic Spines. Voxel. These are words Ferris Jahr, writing in Scientific American, had to add to his Microsoft program in order to avoid all those red squiggles. “Neuron” his program knew, and he thought he knew (May 14, 2012).

He did not.

Now, Mr. Jahr has begun to appreciate the extraordinary diversity of these excitable cells. Some send signals along fibers that extend several feet; others only a fraction of an inch. Some look like tumbleweeds. Purkinje cells look like a fan. Their symmetry and asymmetry are gorgeous. They control all brain activity.

The word neuron in fact did not exist at all till the early 1890s. The history of the neuron, was written by Italian physician Camillo Golgi, German Karl Deiters, and Spanish neuroanatomist Santiago Ramon y Cajal, whose sketches of neurons remain classics.

For more knowledge from this fascinating article, AMHF urges you to check out Scientific American.

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