Medicine: The Brain at Work

How does the brain go about its intricate business? Last week Dr. Hudson Hoagland of the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology summed up recent theories on the brain.

Yes or No. The basic unit of the nervous system, said Dr. Hoagland, is the neuron or nerve cell. When neurons are stimulated, a wave of electrical energy passes along their interconnecting fibers. When it reaches the "synapses" where the fibers touch those of other nerve cells, it may pass the impulse along. Or it may not. This "yes-or-no" response of the neurons, Dr. Hoagland believes, is the basis of brain operation. Certain calculating...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!