After providing all the funding for The Brain from Top to Bottom for over 10 years, the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction informed us that because of budget cuts, they were going to be forced to stop sponsoring us as of March 31st, 2013.

We have approached a number of organizations, all of which have recognized the value of our work. But we have not managed to find the funding we need. We must therefore ask our readers for donations so that we can continue updating and adding new content to The Brain from Top to Bottom web site and blog.

Please, rest assured that we are doing our utmost to continue our mission of providing the general public with the best possible information about the brain and neuroscience in the original spirit of the Internet: the desire to share information free of charge and with no adverstising.

Whether your support is moral, financial, or both, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Bruno Dubuc, Patrick Robert, Denis Paquet, and Al Daigen

Monday, 16 April 2012
Fewer Glial Cells Than You Might Think?

astrocyteMost neuroscience textbooks still state that the number of glial cells (non-neuronal cells, such as astrocytes) in the human brain is far higher than the number of neurons. The figure often given is 10 times higher, and some authors even speak of up to 50 times higher. But studies done over the past few years offer a far more conservative estimate: a ratio of around one to one.

For example, in their 2009 study, Azevedo et al. estimate that there are about 85 billion glial cells and 86 billion neurons in the brain of an adult male human. The ratio observed does vary from one brain structure to another, and can be a bit higher in certain sub-cortical structures that contain many glial cells, but in the cortex, the ratio of glial cells to neurons never exceeds two to one. For the brain as a whole, the ratio does thus tend toward one to one. In this respect, humans are no different from other primates or mammals, in which this same ratio is found.

Thus, the refinement of neuron-counting methods, like that of other tools and techniques in the past, has quashed yet another myth that purported to differentiate humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. Such new findings also force us to update our books and web sites (including this one), because scientific data are by definition subject to revision.

i_lien Fact or Fiction? Are there ten times more glia than neurons in the brain?

i_lien The human brain as a linearly scaled-up primate brain

a_lien The human brain in numbers: a linearly scaled-up primate brain
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From the Simple to the Complex | 1 comment

One comment at; “Fewer Glial Cells Than You Might Think?”

  1. Bruno Dubuc says:

    Are There Really as Many Neurons in the Human Brain as Stars in the Milky Way?