Foundations of Neurosciences
Neuroscience, also known as neural science, is a multidisciplinary science that combines physiology, anatomy, molecular biology, developmental biology, cytology, computer science, and mathematical modeling to investigate the structure and function of the human brain and nervous system. It is well-known the nervous system is very important that controls every aspect of the body, from emotion and memory to basic bodily activities such as movement, breathing, and controlling the heartbeat. The disorders in the nervous system result in some diseases called nervous system diseases such as Down syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, and so on. Hence, the study of neuroscience is very important and significant for the understanding of the etiology and pathogenesis of nervous system diseases and developing effective medications to treat and prevent these diseases.
History of Nervous System
- The earliest study of the nervous system date back to ancient Egypt. According to the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, it was found ancient Egyptians attempted to understand the role of the brain and how it worked and to explain neural disorders in 1,700 BC.
- Around 500 BC, Alcmaeon proposed the human brain is where the mind is. Several years later, Hippocrates reiterated Alcmaeon’s assertion by claiming the “brain is the seat of intelligence”.
- In 384-322 BC, Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, proclaimed that the human brain is the body's mechanism for cooling blood and the heart is the source of intelligence.
- In 1873, Camillo Golgi used silver chromate salt to show what single neurons looked like. Based on this result, early in the 20th century, Santiago Cajal, the Spanish pathologist, and neuroscientist, proposed that the neuron is the smallest functional unit of the brain. In 1906, Gorky and Cajal jointly received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine owing to their revolutionary work and discoveries.
- Another 19th-century scientist, von Hemholtz, greatly increased the understanding of brain function when he measured the speed at which nerve cells produced electrical impulses.
- During the 20th century, neuroscience began to be recognized as a distinct academic discipline in its own right. With the rapid development of biological techniques, neuroscientists have made great advances in the field of neuroscience research, which enables us to have a better and deeper understanding of the nervous system’s structure, functions, development, abnormalities, and ways it can be altered.
Research Purpose of Neuroscience
For neuroscience research, there have three main purposes according to the Society for Neuroscience:
- Investigate structure and function of the nervous system
- Investigate how the central nervous system (CNS) develops, matures, and maintains itself
- Investigate the pathogenesis of neurological disorders and discover ways to prevent or treat them
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