Low-Cost Travel in Neurons

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Science  11 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5946, pp. 1349-1351
DOI: 10.1126/science.1180102

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About 20% of the energy consumed by the body sustains brain function (1), yet the brain represents only 2% of human body mass. This consumption, reflected by the use of glucose and oxygen delivered by blood flow, provides signals that can be detected in real time with imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging (2). On page 1405 of this issue, Alle et al. (3) weigh in on the ongoing debate about how energy utilization by brain neurons contributes to the signals detected by these techniques.