The And Of The Nervous System

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In 1906, the Nobel Prize was awarded jointly to Camillo Golgi and Santiago Ramón y Cajal. Both scientists were recognized for their contribution of their work on the structure of the nervous system. (Bentivoglio) Each one of them was great advocates of conflicting theories of how the nervous system was organized. Golgi was a great supporter of the reticular theory, of which he very much defended in his Nobel Lecture. (Golgi) While Ramon y Cajal stated that neurons where independent of each other and this is the basis of the commonly accepted Neuron doctrine. (Ramon y Cajal Nobel) It is not known that the awarding members of the Nobel were aware of their rivalry but it was well recorded that both were not amicable to each other. (Mörner)…show more content…
Ramon y Cajal used this technique as stated in the recollection of his life:
“Impregnate fragments of gray matter for several days in solutions of potassium bichromate (or of Muller’s fluid)... and treating them afterwards with dilute solutions (0.75 per cent) of crystalline silver nitrate”. (Ramon y Cajal: Recollections pg. 306)
Ramon y Cajal later improved this technique by double impregnation. (Ramon y Cajal: Recollections pg. 323) Originally his studies focus on the structure of the neuron and gave two very important conclusions. The first was the discovery and naming of the dendritic spines. Second was the idea that each nerve cell is an independent unit of a whole and not a single network. (DeFelipe and Ramón y Cajal pg 28). His secondary observations concluded that the nervous system could not be a pre-set network but a set of independent structures that could have the potential of being modified and created new pathways. This shows the property of brain plasticity. (DeFelipe and Ramon y Cajal pg 31)
Ramon y Cajal’s initial work was on the layers of the cerebellum of humans and other higher mammals. He later focussed his work on the visual cortex and even recorded his personal observations of the aging visual and auditory systems and muscle debilitation in a more literary non scientific way. His most important observation is that the brain will compensate for the
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