The brain is probably the most complex machinery for information processing we can imagine. The amount of data it manages is extremely huge. Any conscious or unconscious event both internal and coming from the environment needs to be perceived, elaborated, and responded with an appropriate action. Moreover, the high-level activities of mind require the connection of logical elaboration, the relationship with past experience (memory), and the transfer of information among different areas of the brain participating to the elaboration of the thought. Almost all brain illnesses or even simple defaults can be related to a corruption of the basic system which manage information in the brain. The main actors in transferring and managing information are the synapses, and then the understanding of the brain information processing cannot disregard the full understanding of the synaptic functionality. In the present chapter, by using as example the most common type of the brain synapse (the glutamatergic synapse), we will present the basic mechanism of synaptic transmission stressing some of the most relevant mechanisms which regulate the transfer and management of information.
Part of the book: Advances in Neural Signal Processing