Most of us have heard of neurons. But have you ever heard of glial cells? They make up almost 90% of the brain, and science is beginning to explore what they do and how they might contribute to thought. Originally thought to simply be the “brick and mortar” that insulated neurons, glial cells are now known to communicate with each other and with neurons,. They can produce neurotransmitters, and they appear to be essential for forming new neurons and connections between neurons. Who knew?
Scientific American interviewed Andrew Koob (Ph.D. is neuroscience from Purdue University) about glial cells and why they orginally got no respect.