X-Message-Number: 10911
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 1998 07:54:29 -0500
From: Thomas Donaldson <>
Subject: CryoNet #10905 - #10910

Hi everyone!

About dendritic spines: It is false that few neuroscientists are
interested in them. This hardly means that they are fully understood,
but then lots of things about how our brains work aren't fully 

The importance of dendritic spines is that they contain the receiving
sides of a synapse, though not all such receiving sides (synapses
aren't always on dendritic spines). They do change with time, also.
More than that, good evidence exists that even our SYNAPSES change 
with time; just how and why is thought now by many neuroscientists
to be central to the means by which we form our long term memories.

One very plausible idea about spines and how they work is that they
isolate a synapse and its chemical environment from the rest of the
neuron --- not completely, but partially. That isolation may sometimes
be important for messages received on that synapse.

I have a list of readings on neurobiology and memory which I'm
happy to send by email to anyone who wants it. From what I understand
of spines, they are not persistent structures and it is the growth
and disappearance of SYNAPSES which gives the main physical expression
of memory --- but not in the hippocampus, which processes but does
not store any memories for very long. Apparently, even in sleep
some of your dendritic spines disappear, possibly to reform again
when you reawaken (refs given on request).

As for the disappearance of money, Mr. Smith clearly won't listen
to any of us, so I don't see the point of further discussion with

			Best and long long life to all,

				Thomas Donaldson

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