Welcome to Synapse
Not just Rocket science
Researchers have found that efficient interaction between two neurons holds the key for memory of the individual. Neurons (also called as nerve cells) produces a kind of electric or chemical that passes on the relevant signal to the other neuron in the human brain and this process goes on till the brain is able to retrieve the memory. As already said, memory encoding and retrieval is always dependent on the effective working of the neuron. This process of working of neuron is done through the Synapse which is a structure in the brain that allows interaction between the neurons.
That means Synapse becomes an essential means or media for the neurons to interact amongst themselves. The membrane of the neuron that is processing the signal connects itself with the membrane of the target neuron through Synapse. Once this link is established the receptive neuron retrieves or encodes the message to the memory. This process is called as neurotransmission. According to scientists, Synapse is a small organ in the human body which is measured to be about 20 millionth of a millimeter (which is called as "20 nanometer"). Scientists call the synapse as a junction box of the human brain and it enables the neurons to interact amongst themselves through a process called as Synamptic connection. You may wonder, this junction processes messages received from about 1000 trillion sympatric connections. Each neuron can form thousands of links and cope with this interaction. According to medical scientists there are over 100 trillion synapses in the brain.
Interestingly, scientists have revealed the fact that the more frequently neurons get connected the stronger would be the neuron"s connection. That means, when you relate this to the issue of individual"s memory, the more you recollect an event the stronger is the connection of the related neurons. Therefore, with each experience and with each recollection of the facts, you are strengthening the interaction of related neurons. Scientists also explain that each neuron transmitter terminals contain sacs called as vesicles which pass on both electrical and electro-chemical signals through amino acids, dopamine, acetylcholine, adrenaline, serotonin, histamine, melatonin and GABA. The entire process of neurons interacting through synapse takes less than five hundreds of a second. Scientists say, this in short is the activity of the brain.
Scientists further explain that neuron also called as nerve cells or brain cells are different from other cells found in the body. In the normal course, some portion of the cells present in the body dies and the body throws out the dead cells and in its place new cells are grown. This process is called as regeneration of cells. But, this process of death and regeneration of cells do not apply to neurons. This is because, neuron cells will not divide and they will not die and in the normal course, neuron cells are not replaced by other healthy neuron cells. Interestingly, the message transmitted by one neuron to another may also identify the quality and the kind reaction that needs to be taken. That would mean to say, the message transmitted by one neuron to another neuron may prompt the person to act in a particular manner. This transmission of message between neurons is by means of vibrations instigated either electric or chemical impulses.
Scientists have found that in the case of people suffering from Autism, there is excess synapse in the brain. This excess synapse affects the process of neurotransmission of message. However, in the case of people suffering from Alzheimer the chemicals in the brain disrupts the transmission of message and that is the reason why people suffering from these two diseases are unable to properly respond to any given situation.
Considerable research is going on in some of the reputed research laboratories across the world to understand the various other functions of synapse. That would throw a light on finding solutions to various neurons related diseases.