- Nerve cell under the light microscope (photograph: Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt)
How do our own bodies work and why are we the way we are? Throughout the ages these have always been some of the central questions of mankind. Our brain is the biggest riddle of all, and to be candid, we are far from understanding in detail how our brain works, despite the considerable scientific progress that has already been made.
In the early days of brain research, most of the interest was focused on studying the structure of the organ. Most of the trailblazing anatomical work was done 100 to 150 years ago. But even today individual brain structures are being studied in detail. For a long time scientists argued over which structures were decisive for information processing in the brain. Today, they agree that the most important basic biological unit of information processing is the nerve cell or neuron.