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Glee Over Glia

18 March 2012 3,465 views

By Rebecca Shafir

I highly suggest a fascinating book by R. Douglas Fields called “The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science”
These discoveries undermine the Neuron Doctrine in which the neurons “rule” the brain.

He points out the glial cells (glia is Greek for “glue”), which are not neurons, play a greater role in brain function than previously thought. Glial cells provide support and nutrition in the brain, form myelin, and participate in signal transmission. Fields, however, suggests that consciousness may arise from the activity of the glia cells rather than neurons.

They also may be key to understanding brain diseases.

Just as an aside, it’s interesting too, that an examination of samples of Albert Einstein’s brain by Marian C. Diamond showed that Einstein’s brain, compared to the average male brain, had more glial cells relative to neurons in all areas studied, but particularly in the left inferior parietal area. This region of the brain is responsible for incorporating and synthesizing information from multiple other brain regions.

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