Building blocks of the CNS

The Brain Gauge is effective at tracking brain health because it measures the building blocks of information processing. So what do we mean by this? Essentially, the Brain Gauge measures target, at a systems level, ingredients for higher order processing. For example, information processing speed is critical for all types of processing. Mechanisms such as lateral inhibition and plasticity are key components or building blocks for memories (i.e, the Brain Gauge measures lateral inhibition and plasticity, but not memory). In other words, the design of the Brain Gauge system was oriented to target specific and systemic mechanisms of information processing of the CNS.

The central nervous system (CNS) processes information through complex networks of neurons and synapses. The basic building blocks of CNS information processing include:

Neurons: Neurons are the fundamental units of the nervous system. They receive, process, and transmit electrical and chemical signals. Neurons are highly specialized cells that can generate and conduct electrical impulses.
Neural Networks:
Synapses: Synapses are junctions between neurons that allow them to communicate. They transmit information via chemical signals (neurotransmitters) from one neuron to another. Synaptic strength can be modified, forming the basis of learning and memory.

Neural Circuits: Neurons are organized into circuits, which are specific pathways of interconnected neurons. These circuits process specific types of information, such as sensory input or motor output.

Information Processing:
Excitatory and Inhibitory Signals: Neurons receive both excitatory and inhibitory signals. Excitatory signals increase the likelihood of a neuron firing, while inhibitory signals decrease this likelihood. The balance between these signals is crucial for information processing.

Action Potentials: Neurons generate electrical signals called action potentials. When the membrane potential reaches a certain threshold, an action potential is initiated, allowing the neuron to transmit information over long distances.

Neurotransmitters: Neurons communicate by releasing neurotransmitters at synapses. These chemicals bind to receptors on the target neuron, influencing its membrane potential and the likelihood of generating an action potential.

Plasticity and Learning:
Long-Term Potentiation (LTP) and Long-Term Depression (LTD): These are cellular mechanisms underlying learning and memory. LTP strengthens synapses based on their activity, while LTD weakens synapses. Both processes are fundamental for synaptic plasticity.

Neuroplasticity: The brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. It underlies learning, memory, and recovery from brain injuries.

Modulatory Systems:
Neuromodulators: These are chemicals that influence the activity of groups of neurons. Neuromodulatory systems, such as the dopamine and serotonin systems, play a significant role in regulating mood, motivation, and other complex behaviors.
Feedback and Feedforward Loops:
Feedback Loops: Neuronal circuits often involve feedback loops, where the output of a neuron influences its own input or the input of previous neurons in the circuit. Feedback loops can amplify or stabilize neural activity.

Feedforward Loops: Information can also flow in a feedforward manner, where neurons activate downstream neurons without creating feedback loops. This flow is essential for processing sequential information.

Understanding these building blocks helps researchers and neuroscientists unravel the complexities of information processing in the CNS, although it's important to note that the study of the brain is still a vibrant area of research, and our understanding continues to evolve.

Using the Brain Gauge - either to consistently measure and/or exercise the brain - is a good way to monitor and maintain an objective and quantitative tracking of brain health because it does target these fundamental mechanisms or building blocks of information processing.

Interested in learning more about the Brain Gauge and the brain training platform? Visit the Brain Gauge YouTube channel:
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