Saturday, 9 June 2012
Cortex- Fifty Shades of Grey Matter
Convoluted with furrows and grooves, it's akin to cauliflower. A dynamic apparatus, from which the finer rudiments of thought, feeling and intellect stem. The very mantle that sheaths the most nervous of tissue and executes the most meticulous of commandments. A tangible representation of cognition, an abstract exultation of elegance and the premise of form and function. It remains nothing short of miraculous and spellbinding; thin, gray tissue harboring the secrecy of consciousness and above all, life. The zenith of gray matter and the biological basis for reason, abstraction and love. The cortex remains a powerhouse executive suite, armed with the potency of billions upon billions of neuronal entities, its hallmark lies with its deceptive resemblance of vegetable contrasted with its role as the ultimate reduction of the self. Thin and convoluted gray matter is merely the explicit statement, while the lurking station of biochemical symphony and cellular synchrony convey the greater connotation, the profound potential. The intellectual challenge that lies with pushing the envelope of understanding further is deepened with the prospect of fatty tissue, dominating perception, conception and the capacity to reason. For the brain remains no homogeneous pudding, it is a fabrication of various cogs and gears that consolidate memory, process sensory input and facilitate motor output. The cortex forms a bulk of neurological function, in contrast to the sub-cortical white matter, responsible for the facilitation of channels and pathways, commissures and radiations. But cracking the ultimate conundrum remains the driving, thrusting force that transcends space and time, matter and energy; the essence of the sheath of cognition and its untapped, coded potential. The cortex remains the subject of much speculation as well as seminal scientific work that hints novel developments for localisation and lateralisation of function, the pathological investigation of disorder and the mystic elements entailed in its being. With the stimulation of the cortex via an electrode for instance, an uncannily map-like representation of the body is unveiled. Such a mechanism fosters structure over that of substance and harbors a boundless cognitive potential along a thin sheet of neural tissue. But it is the holistic rather than the modular approach that captures the spirit of cognition, for it remains a phenomenon surpassing the parameters of mere tissue and entailing the dynamics of a transcendent order.