You reach out to touch the stove top. But, right before your hand touches it, you begin to feel warmth. You move your hand a little closer to the stove and the warmth increases. Now, it is just plain out hot. You quickly pull your hand away.
What has just happened is an example of what our neurons, one kind of many other kinds of cells in the body, can do in your body. These special cells, which we often think of as nerves, are what tells our body when something is hot, when something is cold, when something is sharp, or when something is a possible danger.
Neurons themselves are cells. Although they may not look like the average cell we normally see in a drawing or picture, they most definitely are still cells. They can perform all the functions of life, they have all the materials of cells, so, they must be cells. And they are.
Neurons are made up of three main parts: nucleus, axon and and dendrites. The nucleus is the center of the cell and, ultimately, controls the rest of the cell. The axon is the deliverer of the electrical impulse that we feel. The dendrites themselves, are the ones that receive the impulse. Without any one of these parts the neuron is incapable of performing its task.
When the neuron first receives the electrical impulse that we feel, it will register this information through the dendrites. The dendrites then send it to the nucleus. When the nucleus gets the information it will then send the pulse through the axon. This axon is always connected to the next neuron’s dendrites. This is one of the things that makes the neuron so fast at their job. When the pulse reaches the end of the axon it will transform into neurotransmitter molecules. These molecules then impact the dendrites and start the cycle all over again.
Okay, this sounds interesting but how can it be so fast? It actually all lies in the size of the neuron.
Although some neurons can be quite large most of this lies in the length of the axon. Some axons can be many feet long, reaching from the bottom of the spine to your toes. But the length is not what makes it fast. The speed all relies in the structure and depth of the axon.
The axon contains a system that has the “voltage-dependent sodium channels”. These sodium channels make the axon a very negatively charged item. When the electrical pulse goes through the axon, this negative tube makes it go much faster. In layman’s terms, this just means that electrical pulses can quickly travel through the axon to be delivered.
With almost 100,000,000,000 neurons in our brain alone, we can see why and how they are so perfectly created for each and every need that God knew we would come across. I’m glad He made them the way He did. Aren’t you?