See Inside June/July 2006

Beyond the Neuron Doctrine

New experiments are settling a century-long debate between two camps over how neurons communicate. The surprise: both sides are right

I sliced the heart in two with a big kitchen knife. All was revealed--the four chambers separated by moist, gristly valves that suck blood into auricles and squeeze it out ventricles. Eleven years old and fascinated, I asked my mother if, next time, she could bring me a brain. When she returned from the butcher shop with a calf brain, I beamed and cleaved the melon in two. But inside I saw nothing notable. Just a hollow cavity at the core of a fleshy mush.

How did it work? Books offered names for its bumps and folds but failed to provide a detailed explanation for how this supreme organ functioned. My parents, teachers--no one seemed to have the answer.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Scientific American Mind Digital

Get 6 bi-monthly digital issues
+ 1yr of archive access for just $9.99

Hurry this offer ends soon! >


Email this Article


Next Article