This Neuroscience website is the central Hub in the Neuroscience Knowledge Network (NKN) of Hubs. Each NKN Hub aggregates the best knowledge about a neuroscience related topic.
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This Neuroscience Hub’s specific content categories are:
“Research”, “Special Topics”, “Projects”, and “Conditions” each with their own sub-categories.
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Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. The term neurobiology is usually used interchangeably with the term neuroscience, although the former refers specifically to the biology of the nervous system, whereas the latter refers to the entire science of the nervous system.
Traditionally, neuroscience has been seen as a branch of biology. However, it is currently an interdisciplinary science that collaborates with other fields such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, linguistics, mathematics, medicine, genetics, and allied disciplines including philosophy, physics, and psychology.
The scope of neuroscience has broadened to include different approaches used to study the molecular, cellular, developmental, structural, functional, evolutionary, computational, and medical aspects of the nervous system. The techniques used by neuroscientists have also expanded enormously, from molecular and cellular studies of individual nerve cells to imaging of sensory and motor tasks in the brain. Recent theoretical advances in neuroscience have also been aided by the study of neural networks.
As a result of the increasing number of scientists who study the nervous system, several prominent neuroscience organizations have been formed to provide a forum to all neuroscientists and educators. For example, the International Brain Research Organization(IBRO) was founded in 1960, the International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN) in 1963, theEuropean Brain and Behaviour Society (EBBS) in 1968,and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) in 1969, and the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) in 1998.
Basic Research in Neuroscience
Below you will find short summaries of some of the major basic research disciplines in neuroscience that are featured in the Neuroscience Knowledge Network. To learn more about a specific discipline and related posts, click on the titles to go directly to a slide show of related posts.
Neuroanatomy is the study of the anatomy and stereotyped organization of nervous systems. In contrast to animals with radial symmetry, whose nervous system consists of a distributed network of cells, animals with bilateral symmetry have segregated, defined nervous systems.
In vertebrates, the nervous system is segregated into the internal structure of the brain and spinal cord (together called the central nervous system, or CNS) and the routes of the nerves that connect to the rest of the body (known as the peripheral nervous system, or PNS).
Neuroinformatics is a research field concerned with the organization of neuroscience data by the application of computational models and analytical tools. These areas of research are important for the integration and analysis of increasingly large-volume, high-dimensional, and fine-grain experimental data.
Neuroinformaticians provide computational tools, mathematical models, and create interoperable databases for clinicians and research scientists.
Molecular neuroscience is a branch of neuroscience that observes concepts in molecular biology applied to the nervous systems of animals.
The scope of this subject covers topics such as molecular neuroanatomy, mechanisms of molecular signaling in the nervous system, the effects of genetics and epigenetics on neuronal development, and the molecular basis for neuroplasticity and neurodegenerative diseases.
Cellular neuroscience is the study of neurons at a cellular level. This includes morphology and physiological properties of single neurons. Several techniques such as intracellular recording, patch-clamp, and voltage-clamp technique, pharmacology, confocal imaging, molecular biology, two photon laser scanning microscopy and Ca2+ imaging have been used to study activity at the cellular level.
Cellular neuroscience examines the various types of neurons, the functions of different neurons, the influence of neurons upon each other, how neurons work together.
Neuropharmacology is the study of how drugs affect cellular function in the nervous system, and the neural mechanisms through which they influence behavior.
Behavioral neuropharmacology focuses on the study of how drugs affect human behavior (neuropsychopharmacology), including the study of how drug dependence and addiction affect the human brain. Molecular neuropharmacology involves the study of neurons and their neurochemical interactions, with the overall goal of developing drugs that have beneficial effects on neurological function.
Cognitive neuroscience is an academic field concerned with the scientific study of biological substrates underlying cognition, with a specific focus on the neural substrates of mental processes. It addresses the questions of how psychological/cognitive functions are produced by neural circuits in the brain.
Cognitive neuroscience is a branch of both psychology and neuroscience, overlapping with disciplines such as physiological psychology, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology.
Behavioral neuroscience is the application of the principles of biology (in particular neurobiology), to the study of physiological, genetic, and developmental mechanisms of behavior in humans and non-human animals. It typically investigates at the level of neurons, neurotransmitters, brain circuitry and the basic biological processes that underlie normal and abnormal behavior.
Often, experiments in behavioral neuroscience involve non-human animal models (such as rats and mice, and non-human primates) which have implications for better understanding of human pathology.
Social neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field devoted to understanding how biological systems implement social processes and behavior, and to using biological concepts and methods to inform and refine theories of social processes and behavior.
Emergent structures evolved hand in hand with neural and hormonal mechanisms to support them because the consequent social behaviors helped these organisms survive, reproduce, and care for offspring sufficiently long that they too survived to reproduce.
Systems neuroscience is a sub-discipline of neuroscience and systems biology that studies the function of neural circuits and systems. It is an umbrella term, encompassing a number of areas of study concerned with how nerve cells behave when connected together to form neural networks.
At this level of analysis, neuroscientists study how different neural circuits analyze sensory information, form perceptions of the external world, make decisions, and execute movements.
Computational neuroscience (also theoretical neuroscience) is the study of brain function in terms of the information processing properties of the structures that make up the nervous system.
It is an interdisciplinary science that links the diverse fields of neuroscience, cognitive science, and psychology with electrical engineering, computer science, mathematics, and physics.
Special Topics in Neuroscience
Below you will find short summaries of some of the major special topics in neuroscience. To learn more about a specific special topic and related posts, click on the titles in this post to go directly to a slide show of related posts.
Neural recording is the use of neurotechnologies to measure an aspect of brain function and the electro-physiological responses of single neurons.
Common neuroimaging methods for measuring brain function include: Positron emission tomography (PET), Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), multichannel electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), near infrared spectroscopic imaging (NIRSI), and Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Single neuron measurement normally uses a microelectrode system.
Brain mapping is a set of neuroscience techniques predicated on the mapping of (biological) quantities or properties onto spatial representations of the (human or non-human) brain resulting in maps.
Brain mapping is the study of the anatomy and function of the brain and spinal cord through the use of imaging, immuno-histochemistry, molecular & optogenetics, stem cell and cellular biology, engineering (material, electrical and biomedical), neurophysiology and nanotechnology.
Neuromodulation is the physiological process by which a given neuron uses one or more neurotransmitters to regulate diverse populations of neurons. This is in contrast to classical synaptic transmission, in which one presynaptic neuron directly influences a single postsynaptic partner.
Neuromodulators secreted by a small group of neurons diffuse through large areas of the nervous system, affecting multiple neurons. Major neuromodulators in the central nervous system include dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, histamine, and norepinephrine.
The principles that govern the evolution of brain structure are not well understood.
Brain to body size does not scale isometrically (in a linear fashion) but rather allometrically. The brains and bodies of mammals do not scale linearly. Small bodied mammals have relatively large brains compared to their bodies and large mammals (such as whales) have small brains; similar to growth.
In psychology, memory is the process in which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved.
Encoding or registration: receiving, processing and combining of received information
Storage: creation of a permanent record of the encoded information in short term or long term memory
Retrieval, recall or recollection: calling back the stored information in response to some cue for use in a process or activity
The loss of memory is described as forgetfulness.
Consciousness is the quality or state of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.
At one time consciousness was viewed with skepticism by many scientists, but in recent years it has become a significant topic of research in psychology, neuropsychology and neuroscience. The primary focus is on understanding what it means biologically and psychologically for information to be present in consciousness—that is, on determining the neural and psychological correlates of consciousness.
Age is a major risk factor for most common neurodegenerative diseases, including Mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease,cerebrovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease. While much research has focused on diseases of aging, there are, at the presen time,few informative studies on the molecular biology of the aging brain.
Research does suggest that the aging process is associated with several structural, chemical, and functional changes in the brain as well as a host of neurocognitive changes.
Neuromorphic Computing, also known as neuromorphic engineering is a concept developed by Carver Mead, in the late 1980s, describing the use of very-large-scale integration (VLSI) systems containing electronic analog circuits to mimic neuro-biological architectures present in the nervous system.
In recent times the term neuromorphic has been used to describe analog, digital, and mixed-mode analog/digital VLSI and software systems that implement models of neural systems (for perception, motor control, or multisensory integration).
Neuroethics refers to two related fields of study: what the philosopher Adina Roskies has called the ethics of neuroscience, and the neuroscience of ethics. The ethics of neuroscience comprises the bulk of work in neuroethics.
It concerns the ethical, legal and social impact of neuroscience, including the ways in which neurotechnology can be used to predict or alter human behavior and “the implications of our mechanistic understanding of brain function for society… integrating neuroscientific knowledge with ethical and social thought”.
Below you will find short summaries of some of the major brain projects in neuroscience. To learn more about a specific brain projects and related posts, click on the titles in this post to go directly to a slide show of related posts.
The Allen Institute for Brain Science is taking the first major scientific step to create a searchable standards database for the brain with the launch of the Allen Cell Types Database.
The first release includes information on just 240 neurons out of hundreds of thousands in the mouse visual cortex, with a focus on the electrophysiology of those individual cells: the electrical pulses that tell a neuron to fire, initiating a pattern of neural activation that results in perception and action.
This year Hanchuan Peng (Allen Institute for Brain Science) began the next phase of the effort called BigNeuron. However, rather than a competition, this time the project would be a collaboration.
The key idea is to create a single platform on which all algorithms can be run, compared, and their results combined to form reconstructions better than any one could achieve alone.
The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain.
This Hub’s goal is to become the most comprehensive source for information on the BRAIN Initiative by providing the people involved in Initiative related activities the opportunity to curate and showcase their work. Hub members and those mentioned in a post can have direct input into posts by editing and commenting on existing posts as well as creating and recommending new posts. Members can also participate in and host live-streamed, interactive broadcasts.
EyeWire is a game to map the brain in collaboration with Seung Lab at Princeton. Anyone can play and you need no scientific background — over 200,000 people from 145 countries already do.
Together we are mapping the 3D structure of neurons; advancing our quest to understand ourselves.
The ENIGMA Network is an international network that brings together researchers in imaging genomics, neurology and psychiatry, to understand brain structure and function, based on MRI, DTI, fMRI, genetic data and many patient populations.
Enigma is an acronym for Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta Analysis. ENIGMA has found 8 common gene mutations leading to brain age in over 30,000 brain scans that may some day unlock mysteries of Alzheimer’s, autism and other neurological disorders.
The Hippocampome is a curated knowledge base of the circuitry of the hippocampus of normal adult, or adolescent, rodents at the mesoscopic level of neuronal types. Knowledge concerning dentate gyrus, CA3, CA2, CA1, subiculum, and entorhinal cortex is distilled from published evidence and is continuously updated as new information becomes available.
Each reported neuronal property is documented with a pointer to, and excerpt from, relevant published evidence, such as citation quotes or illustrations.
The Human Brain Project (HBP) is a 10-year scientific research project which aims to simulate the complete human brain on supercomputers to better understand how it functions and simulate drug treatments.
Established in 2013, directed by the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, the HBP is largely funded by the European Union, The project is based in Geneva, Switzerland. The project was initially coordinated by Professor Henry Markram although its governance and scientific direction are undergoing major changes.
NeuroMorpho.Org is a centrally curated inventory of digitally reconstructed neurons associated with peer-reviewed publications. It contains contributions from over 100 laboratories worldwide and is continuously updated as new morphological reconstructions are collected, published, and shared.
The goal of NeuroMorpho.Org is to provide dense coverage of available reconstruction data for the neuroscience community.
The Neuroscience Information Framework is a repository of global neuroscience web resources, including experimental, clinical, and translational neuroscience databases, knowledge bases, atlases, and genetic/genomic resources and provides many authoritative links throughout the neuroscience portal of Wikipedia.
One of the National Academy of Engineering’s 14 Grand Challenges is how to “Reverse-Engineer the Brain”
A lot of research has been focused on creating thinking machines—computers capable of emulating human intelligence— however, reverse-engineering the brain could have multiple impacts that go far beyond artificial intelligence and will promise great advances in health care, manufacturing, and communication.
Below you will find short summaries of some of the major neurological conditions. To learn more about a specific condition and related posts, click on the titles in the post to go directly to a slide show of related posts.
Addiction is a state defined by compulsive engagement in naturally rewarding behavior or compulsive drug use, despite adverse consequences; it can be thought of as a disease or biological process leading to such behaviors.
The main components of a ‘reward system’, and how it connects to brain areas involved in motivation and emotion, are now defined, and much has been discovered about the chemical messenger systems such as dopamine and noradrenaline that are fundamental to the mechanism of addiction.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD), also known as Alzheimer disease, or just Alzheimer’s, accounts for 60% to 70% of cases of dementia. It is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and gets worse over time.
The most common early symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events (short-term memory loss). As the disease advances, symptoms can include problems with language, disorientation (including easily getting lost), mood swings, loss of motivation, not managing self care, and behavioural issues
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior. Parents usually notice signs in the first two years of their child’s life.
These signs often develop gradually, though some children with autism reach their developmental milestones at a normal pace and then regress. The diagnostic criteria require that symptoms become apparent in early childhood, typically before age three.
A brain tumor or intracranial neoplasm occurs when abnormal cells form within the brain. There are two main types of tumors: malignant or cancerous tumors and benign tumors.
Cancerous tumors can be divided into primary tumors that start within the brain, and secondary tumors that have spread from somewhere else, known as brain metastasis tumors.
Insomnia, also known as trouble sleeping, is a sleep disorder in which there is trouble to fall asleep or to stay asleep as long as desired.
While the term is sometimes used to describe a disorder as diagnosed by polysomnographic or actigraphic evidence, this is often practically defined as a positive response to either of two questions: “do you experience difficulty sleeping?” or “do you have difficulty falling or staying asleep?”
There are many different mental disorders, with different presentations. They are generally characterized by a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behavior and relationships with others.
Mental disorders include: depression, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses, dementia, intellectual disabilities and developmental disorders including autism.
Parkinson’s disease (PD), also known as idiopathic or primary parkinsonism, hypokinetic rigid syndrome, or paralysis agitans, is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system mainly affecting the motor system.
The motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease result from the death of dopamine-generating cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain.
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is an injury to the spinal cord resulting in a change, either temporary or permanent, in the cord’s normal motor, sensory, or autonomic function.
Common causes of damage are trauma (car accident, gunshot, falls, sports injuries, etc.) or disease (transverse myelitis, polio, spina bifida, Friedreich’s ataxia, etc.). The spinal cord does not have to be severed in order for a loss of function to occur.
Stroke, also known as cerebrovascular accident (CVA), cerebrovascular insult (CVI), or brain attack, is when poor blood flow to the brain results in cell death. There are two main types of stroke: ischemic, due to lack of blood flow, and hemorrhagic, due to bleeding.
In 2013, stroke was the second most frequent cause of death after coronary artery disease, accounting for 6.4 million deaths (12% of the total). About 3.3 million deaths resulted from ischemic stroke while 3.2 million deaths resulted from hemorrhagic stroke. About half of people who have had a stroke live less than one year.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as intracranial injury, occurs when an external force traumatically injures the brain. TBI can be classified based on severity, mechanism (closed or penetrating head injury), or other features (e.g., occurring in a specific location or over a widespread area).
Head injury usually refers to TBI, but is a broader category because it can involve damage to structures other than the brain, such as the scalp and skull.
Neuroscience News & Events
This Hub has created a number of categories to facilitate users finding the neuroscience news and events they maybe interested in. These categories are listed below. To learn more about a specific news or events, go directly to its category slider.
News and event posts are rated by this Hub’s curators with the highest rated or most important ones listed first.
This Hub has created a number of categories to facilitate users finding the neuroscience resources they maybe interested in. These categories are listed below. To learn more about a specific resource and related posts, go directly to its category slider.
Resources are rated by this Hub’s curators with the highest rated or most important ones listed first.
This Hub has created a number of categories to facilitate users finding and learn the neuroscience people and organizations they maybe interested in. These categories are listed below. To learn more about a specific discipline and related posts, go directly to its category slider.
People and organization are rated by this Hub’s curators with the highest rated or most important ones listed first.