I read we have 100 billion neurons in our body and countless parallel pathways from the brain to each nerve endings. How does the brain send electrical signals to the exact area of the body and somehow not deviate to a different path along the way?


Also, with the constant electrical signals being sent to and from body parts and the brain, how does the signal not get confused or cancelled out when they pass each other. Is there some kind of ‘gate’ or ‘switch’ on every nerve branch or something?

In: Biology

There is sort of a switchboard type of system in your body where neurones are linked up to each other at synapses. Now these synapses can delay signals, or also allow multiple signals to build up before sending them on their way. In fact it’s very rare that only one neurone causes an effect in your body.
Also, your brain is kind of the middle step in this, it gets information from many neurones and then sends instructions down other neurones. Most of this information would require a specific response, for example if you touch something hot, you move away by sending signals to muscles. These sorts of instructions are so common that you get pathways built up which mean the response over time becomes more set and therefore quicker, as there are fewer decisions. This can be seen with muscle memory,if you do a movement enough, eventually it becomes automatic and somewhat like a reflex, due to the built up pathways

This is a pretty complicated question, but I believe it has to do with each neuron having several arms (axon endings) that connect to several other neurons. A particular pattern of oncoming signals causes a particular pattern of outgoing signals. These signals cascade through the brain, forming waves, so each signal is part of a wave which acts to separate that signal from a signal in a separate wave.