The Neuron Doctrine, the cornerstone of research on normal and abnormal brain functions for over a century, has failed to discern the basis of complex cognitive functions. The location and mechanisms of memory storage and recall, consciousness, and learning, remain enigmatic. The purpose of this article is to critically review the Neuron Doctrine in light of empirical data over the past three decades. Similarly, the central role of the synapse and associated neural networks, as well as ancillary hypotheses, such as gamma synchrony and cortical minicolumns, are critically examined. It is concluded that each is fundamentally flawed and that, over the past three decades, the study of non-neuronal cells, particularly astrocytes, has shown that virtually all functions ascribed to neurons are largely the result of direct or indirect actions of glia continuously interacting with neurons and neural networks. Recognition of non-neural cells in higher brain functions is extremely important. The strict adherence of purely neurocentric ideas, deeply ingrained in the great majority of neuroscientists, remains a detriment to understanding normal and abnormal brain functions. By broadening brain information processing beyond neurons, progress in understanding higher level brain functions, as well as neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders, will progress beyond the impasse that has been evident for decades.
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