Friday, February 18, 2011

Reverse signals in neurons found | KurzweilAI

Reverse signals in neurons found | KurzweilAI: Northwestern University scientists have discovered that axons can operate in reverse: they can also send signals to the neuron cell body, too. Previously, it was thought that axons only carry signals away from neurons (output).

It also turns out axons can talk to each other. Before sending signals in reverse, axons can perform their own neural computations without any involvement from the cell body or dendrites. This is contrary to typical neuronal communication where an axon of one neuron is in contact with another neuron’s dendrite or cell body, not its axon. And, unlike the computations performed in dendrites, the computations occurring in axons are thousands of times slower, potentially creating a means for neurons to compute fast things in dendrites and slow things in axons.

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