History Of Neurons

Hello, and Welcome to the History Of Neurons!
You can see from the diagram above that we are very knowledgeable of neurons, which are the 100 billion nerve cells that are found throughout our body (Society for Neuroscience, 2010).  This part of the website will discuss some of the major historical events which advanced us to our modern day understanding of neurons.

To start off, below is a brief video from the discovery channel which provides an overview of our current understanding of how neurons function.

We also now have a better understanding of how recreational drugs effect the brain.  The University of Utah got creative as viewers of the website witness step by step how drugs effect the brain.  Click HERE to observe the brains of…MICE!!! while they are on drugs.

All of this knowledge that we have gained about neurons and their functions is relatively recent.  Up until the late 19th century, we knew next to nothing about neurons (Finger, 2000).  This is mainly due to the lack of technology, particularly in the development of microscopes and techniques in preparing the specimen.  (See technology tab for more details).

Now that you have a basic understanding of how neurons function, let’s go back through history and discover how we attained this knowledge.
The Organization of the History of Neurons Tab

The History of Neurons tab is further divided into five subcategories:

1. A timeline is provided which includes some of the more important events which advanced our understanding of neurons, as well as a few other relevant events that have advanced neuroscience as a whole.

2. The Neuron Doctrine vs. Nerve Network tab showcases how there were two different schools of thought about how neurons functioned.  This tab will discuss the various contributors towards both schools of thought, and how the Neuron Doctrine eventually became victorious.

3. It is necessary to follow up on the Neuron Doctrine and Nerve Network debate by showcasing Golgi’s controversial nobel prize speech and to show how Cajal reacted to it.

4. Some interesting Biographical anecdotes were stumbled upon while conducting the presented research.  I have presented them here.

5. Lastly, I have dedicated one section of the history of neurons towards technology, as it was the technological  developments which allowed us the ability to gain better knowledge of neurons.


Discovery Channel. (Seasofconfusion). (2007). Neurons and Neuro-Transmitters.
[YouTube]. Available from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF04XPBj5uc

Finger, S. (2000).  Minds Behind the Brain: A History of the Pioneers and Their
New York, NY: Oxford.

Genetic Science Learning Center. (2010). Mouse Party. Learn.Genetics. Retrieved           November 28, 2010, from http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/drugs/mouse.html

Society for Neuroscience (2010). What is neuroscience? Retrieved           from http://www.sfn.org/index.aspx?pagename=whatIsNeuroscience

This page was created by Neil Thorne

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