This is a short story but one that has blown. my. mind.
For the longest time the focus of neuroscience has been on neurons. They’re the infamous cells in the brain which carry most of the communication from and to the rest of the body, as well as in the brain itself. However, they only make up about 10% of brain cells.
The other 90% are known as glial cells. There are lots of different types of these and they’ve been overlooked for most of neuroscience-history.
Recently, however, researchers wanted to explore these cells further to see whether they might hold some of the answers to questions that we couldn’t answer by looking at neurons. For example, why it takes so long for anti-depressants to work.
As a part of that research scientists wanted to see whether putting human astrocytes (a type of glial cell) in mice would change their behaviour.
It did — by injecting mice with cells which would create human astrocytes inside the mouse, the mice became smarter.