Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mathematics Underlying Brain Structure

Study from British neuroscientists looks at the mathematical nature of neuronal growth:

"Neurons look remarkably like trees, and connect to other cells with many branches that effectively act like wires in an electrical circuit, carrying impulses that represent sensation, emotion, thought and action...

"Over 100 years ago, Santiago Ramon y Cajal, the father of modern neuroscience… proposed that neurons spread out their branches so as to use as little wiring as possible to reach other cells in the network. Reducing the amount of wiring between cells provides additional space to pack more neurons into the brain, and therefore increases its processing power.
"New work by UCL neuroscientists has revisited this century-old hypothesis using modern computational methods. They show that a simple computer program that connects points with as little wiring as possible can produce tree-like shapes that are indistinguishable from real neurons — and also happen to be very beautiful."

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