card
327

neuron

OLogy Series
biology
card
327

neuron

OLogy Series
biology

Your brain is made up of cells. Specialized cells called neurons allow you to think, feel, and move. Neurons aren't only found in the brain. These tiny excitable cells form a network throughout your body. They send messages from your body to your brain, all around your brain, and from your brain out to the muscles. Neurons connect through long, spidery branches, carrying signals that control all your thoughts and behaviors.

Neurons carry messages, or nerve signals, through:

electricity

chemicals

both of these

Are you right?

Correct!

A single neuron can launch as many as 1,000 electrochemical signals per second!

A human brain may have as many as ________ connections between neurons.

100 thousand (100,000)

100 billion (100,000,000,000)

100 trillion (100,000,000,000,000)

Are you right?

Correct!

A human brain may contain as many as 100 billion neurons. Each neuron can connect to at least 1,000 other neurons, so a brain may have as many as 100 trillion connections!

All animal brains are made up of neurons. A human brain has 100 billion neurons. Which animal's brain has 1 billion neurons?

honeybee

frog

cat

Are you right?

Correct!

A frog brain has about 16 million neurons. A honeybee brain only has one million.

Neurons are constantly forming and being replaced throughout your lifetime.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

By the time a baby is a few months old, almost all the neurons are in place. But millions of new connections between neurons form with every new experience and everything you learn.

Signals can travel from neuron to neuron faster than race cars.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Signals move at speeds up to 250 miles (400 km) an hour. The fastest race cars only travel at about 200 miles (320 km) per hour. So your thoughts can come and go at blazing speeds!

Definition: nerve cells that carry signals between the brain and body
Parts: dendrites, cell body, axon
Cool Fact: In the human body, the longest neuron stretches from the spinal cord all the way to the toes. It can be more than three feet (one meter) long!
Cool Fact: The longest neuron in the animal kingdom goes all the way down the giraffe's neck.

Image credits: © Richard Tibbitts/Antbits.