Biology: Brain and Actress Jennifer Aniston Essay example

Submitted By Thilagam25
Words: 812
Pages: 4

The article “Brain cell” by Stephen Savage is about the neurons that store memories in such a highly specific manner. The article starts with a fiction story that a Russian neurosurgeon, Akakhi Akakhievitch, opens up a patient’s brain and eroded thousand neurons, which related to the concept of his mother. When the patient woke up, he had lost all the memories of his mother. This led to the search for cells linked to the memory of “grandmother.”
The late neuroscientist Jerry Lettvin came up with never proved or disproved hypothesis; that as few as about 18000 neurons could form the basis of any particular conscious experience, thoughts or memory of a relative or any other person or object we might come across. The perception of any specific individual or object is accomplished by the collective activity of many billions of nerve cells, not one individual nerve cell – Nobel Laureate Charles Sherrington in 1940 called “a millionfold democracy.”
The article also talks about Jennifer Aniston neurons. Gabriel Kreiman performed experiments that led to the discovery of a neuron in the hippocampus of one patient that responded very strongly to different photographs of actress Jennifer Aniston but not to other actors, celebrities, places and animals. This kind of observation can made possible only by recording the activity of individual neuron, not by functional brain imaging method and also need special circumstances for the implantation of these electrodes in humans. This kind of circumstance occurs when treating epilepsy patients. They examine the location of the area where the seizures starts by implanting electrodes deep inside the skull to monitor the brain activity. Same technique was used to find Jennifer Aniston neurons.
The concept of grandmother cell is that only one neuron responds to one concept. The chance of finding the one among billion is very small. If only a single neuron would be responsible for a person’s entire concept of Jennifer Aniston, and if it were damaged or destroyed, then all trace of Jennifer Aniston would disappear from memory. It is not proved that the neuron fires only to Jennifer Aniston. It also often found neurons response to more than one concept. For example, a single neuron that responded to Jennifer Aniston also fired to Lisa Kudrow.
A few critical aspects of Jennifer Aniston neuron are; first each cell fires to a small fraction of the pictures of celebrities, politicians, relatives, landmarks and so on; second, a cell fires in similar manner in response to different pictures of the same person and even to his or her written name; third cells can response to more than one concept.
The article continues with the brain’s complex processes for capturing and storing images of objects and peoples. The process starts from the eyes through optic nerve leaving the eye ball to the primary visual cortex at the back of the head. There the neurons fire in response to a tiny portion of the minute details that compose an image. The face is not identified by one neuron. The high-level neurons in visual cortex can tell that the image is a face not an Eiffel Tower.…