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Neuroinfomatics - Understanding how our senses work

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 7/23/2008

Neuroinfomatics is one of the key subgroups within the group of bioinformatics. As we all know, bioinformatics uses computing tools, math models and tools, and others to help biological research.

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    Neuroinfomatics uses the same technology, tools and analysis as bioinformatics to understand in much the same manner, the human brain, and how it interlinks with the nervous system, how the nerves work, what are the processes that make reactions, how does it store memory, how does it process memory, and the what and why of sleep, for example.

    Neuroinfomatics, although it is related to biological science, has emerged separately because of its very nature, controlling as it does the various aspects of the body and life itself. It is well understood that it is the brain that controls the body, and not the heart, as was once upon a time believed.

    How do our senses work? What triggers the neural signals, and how is the complex array of the brain organized  to receive information from the various parts of the body, such as ‘touch” “nearness to another” , emotions, such as laughter, sadness and boredom, What predicates alcoholism, addiction, how is the auto immune system triggered, how do the molecules in their respective organs transmit and receive, process and act on the information that is has received from a part of the brain, and how does it reply back? These are some of the many questions neuroinformatics helps answer.

    A lot of research in these areas has taken place since the 1500s, and it was with the advent of modern computing systems or Information Technology, that Neuroinfomatics as a concept evolved.

    This provides the basis for building up large databases on various research that have already been carried out. This research is put on a common platform for sharing, and with specially designed software, models the structures of the brain, the Central Nervous System, (CNS), the activity of the neuron, and so on. Information Technology is used also to simulate various cellular structures and neurons and observe their interaction.

    Indeed one of the uses of Neuroinfomatics is to help make computers work better! Fuzzy logic is one example of how Neuroinfomatics helped make computers more useful and faster.