News of the WeekNeuroscience

Learning Visualized, on the Double

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Science  26 Nov 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5445, pp. 1661
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5445.1661a

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Researchers have long believed that when the brain learns, the synapses, the connections between neurons, get stronger. For years, neuroscientists focused on chemical changes that boost synapse strength, but more recent work suggests that synapses change structurally, too. Now, in this week's issue of Nature, a team of neuroscientists reveals one dramatic change: Some strengthened synapses actually double, with a second synapse quickly forming right next to the one that was active.