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Brain plasticity and mental processes: Cajal again

Abstract

The year 2006 marks the 100th anniversary of the first Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for studies in the field of the Neurosciences jointly awarded to Camillo Golgi and Santiago Ramón y Cajal for their key contributions to the study of the nervous system. This award represented the beginning of the modern era of neuroscience. Using the Golgi method, Cajal made fundamental, but often unappreciated, contributions to the study of the relationship between brain plasticity and mental processes. Here, I focus on some of these early experiments and how they continue to influence studies of brain plasticity.

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Figure 1: Motility in vivo of nerve cells.
Figure 2: An axon terminal in proximity to a neuronal soma in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus.
Figure 3: Changes in dendritic spines in cultured hippocampal neurons after conditioning stimulation.
Figure 4: Morphological variations in dendrites and dendritic spines.
Figure 5: Cajal's dendritic-spine-based explanation of certain activity-dependent changes in cortical connections.
Figure 6: Developmental regulation of the motility of dendritic spines and filopodia.
Figure 7: Cortical plasticity and trauma.

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Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to E. G. Jones and R. Yuste for their helpful comments on the manuscript.

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DeFelipe, J. Brain plasticity and mental processes: Cajal again. Nat Rev Neurosci 7, 811–817 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn2005

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