question: job of a neuron

felix slager felix.slager at burningmail.com
Mon Sep 3 06:39:21 EST 2001

Wolfram wrote:

> Hello everyone,
> in the field of neuroscience i am layman. I have no clinical
> background nor nothing else. Just a person (a bit) interested in
> the field.
> Everywhere on the web i can read pages about _how_ neurons work,
> _how_ they interact with others, _how_ the whole brain works (some
> pages assert this).
> Has yet someone figured out _what_ a neuron does, i.e. what its
> task is?

The function (or job) of a neuron in general terms is information 
modulation, it depends on the network I'd guess. So, f.i. the neurons of 
the retina (eye) might be sending information of an optic flow field nature 
(Reichardt detection of speed f.i.) and of some other quality (say 
spectrum) in a different setting.

In detail the function of neurons is more complicated, more situational and 
complex. Neurons have ion specific channels that control flow of ions 
across the neurons membrane. These ion specific channels are regulated 
chemically and/or electronically (i.e. depending on the potential across 
the membrane). One way of looking at the function of the neuron is f.i. the 
sustained capability to modulate ion specific gradients across the membrane.

In short: your question is probably too general to get any satisfactory 

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