The Amazing Human Brain and Human Development

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Lesson 3: The Brain's Building Blocks
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The Brain's Building Blocks

Glia are also specialized cells and outnumber neurons 10 to one. The glial cells work to nourish, support, and complement the activity of neurons in the brain. They do not carry messages themselves, but instead ensure that the neurons do their jobs unimpeded. Glia supply neuronal nutrients and other chemicals, and are also responsible for attacking harmful bacteria. Recent studies suggest that glial cells also play an important role in communication.

Because there are different types of neurons, it makes sense that there are also different types of glial cells. For each type of neuron, there is a corresponding glial cell designed to perform its "supporting role." Some glial cells form myelin sheaths (which are fat wrappings, like insulation) around axons that allow the axons to conduct information more rapidly.


Glia Get a Bad Rap

Although glia compose 90 percent of the cells in the brain, there are no gliosciences. You've never heard of a gliologist, have you? That's because there is no such thing. We only have the neurosciences and neurologists.

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