This week’s theme was the wiring of the brain, with focus on neurogenesis and brain development, as well as the mechanisms of neuronal plasticity. As always, I enjoyed the informative boxes in the book. In the following few chapters, I will open up a bit on my thoughts about some of those boxes.
Regarding the first of those boxes, I was surprised to learn that adult neurogenesis occurs consistently during life in the hippocampus, and that made me wonder about how that translates to the role of the hippocampus in memory formation (looking at you chapter 24!). It was also almost equally surprising that absolutely no neurogenesis happens in the adult cortex, because I had heard before about the misconception that adult neurogenesis never happens was debunked, but I didn’t know that that was indeed true for some parts of the brain.
The box about autism made me search more about autism on wikipedia, and made me think that for a disorder or disease we don’t understand really well, there are so many aspects you can start exploring to find causes and ways of treating them. For example lately I have read about the recently discovered link between gut flora and autism, and it is difficult to fathom how that would be related to abnormal cortical development, but the fact that we are talking about the same set of diseases is marveling.
All in all, I enjoyed this week’s subject, which really links with many of the facets of neuroscience that we are or will be learning about, like mental illnesses, memory, etc.