When your car needs a new spark plug, you take it to a shop where it sits, out of commission, until the repair is finished. But what if your car could replace its own spark plug while speeding down the Mass Pike?
Of course, cars can’t do that, but our nervous system does the equivalent, rebuilding itself continually while maintaining full function.
Neurons live for many years but their components, the proteins and molecules that make up the cell are continually being replaced. How this continuous rebuilding takes place without affecting our ability to think, remember, learn or otherwise experience the world is one of neuroscience’s biggest questions.