Neurons are made up of three parts: a cell body, the axon or main output fiber, and dendrites or input fibers. When a neuron is activated an electric current moves away from the cell and down the axon.
When it arrives at a synapse it triggers the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters. The strength of the synapse determines whether or not there will be enough potential to travel into the next neuron. An average neuron has about 1,000 synapses, while others may have as many as 5,000 or 6,000. An average brain has more than 10 billion neurons while there are more than 10 trillion synapses. These figures point to the importance of the number of synapses developed at each neuron. Without the synapses the neuron has no means of communication with the rest of the brain systems.
Written by Susan Bruckner