Alan J. McComas

in Galvani’s Spark

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199751754
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897094 | DOI:

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After their successful employment in nerve and muscle research, microelectrodes are widely used to explore impulse activity in various parts of the brain and spinal cord. As part of this work, the sensory receiving areas of the cerebral cortex are found to be organized in columns of neurons, just as Lorente de Nó had predicted many years earlier. Experiments by David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel demonstrate that cells in the visual cortex respond to lines and edges, rather than spots and circles, in the visual field. The same workers demonstrate the functional plasticity of the developing visual cortex. Glass micropipettes are used for the iontophoretic application of drugs to neurons and in this way a number of new neurotransmitters are discovered. Because of the huge amount of new knowledge, the last decades of the 20th century are a golden age for neuroscientists, and for neurophysiologists in particular. Since then a number of problems have arisen, for which various solutions have been adopted.

Keywords: brain recordings; David Hubel; Torsten Wiesel; visual cortex; brain plasticity; iontophoretic injection; neurotransmitters; golden age

Chapter.  4870 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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