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Though neurons come in different shapes and sizes, the basic blueprint consists of a cell body, from which protrudes spindly appendages called dendrites and axons. Dendrites are branchlike structures that receive signals from other nerve cells and deliver them to the cell body. The neuron then processes the signals and zaps along information to the next cell via a long projection called the axon.
At least, that's how it normally works. The newly discovered cells have a different, and until now, unknown process. In these cells, the signals skip the cell body altogether, instead traveling along an axon that projects directly from one of the dendrites.
The new cells were discovered in the mouse brain. Specifically, they are found in the hippocampus, a deep-brain structure involved in memory and navigation. Humans have the same general brain structure and types of hippocampus cells as mice.
The hippocampus is home to extensively branched neurons called pyramidal cells, so dubbed because of their triangular cell bodies. To map out the connections between these cells, researchers used a fluorescent red protein that stuck to the origin of each axon protruding from a cell.
The team expected the axons to extend from the cell bodies. Instead, they saw that in many cases, the axons emerged from the branching dendrites instead. The base of the hippocampus is divided into areas labeled CA1, CA2, CA3 and CA4. The most common site for strangely shaped cells was in the CA1 region, where about 50 percent of cells had dendrite-originating axons. About 28 percent of cells in the CA3 region were the newly discovered shape.
originally posted by: The Vagabond
a reply to: lostbook
So, basically a hard-wire bypass built into the switch if I understand correctly, whereby input guarantees a specific output either with or without the selective output of the switch?
This sounds potentially related to "reflex" reaction to my layman's mind.