What does the neuron do?

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A neuron is a special cell that makes up the nervous system.  It consists of a soma, or the main body of the nerve cell containing the nucleus, and dendrites and axons, or extensions from the soma both long and short that help transmit information.  These dendrites and axons help neurons to connect to one another and form extended neural networks.  Information is transmitted through these neural networks by electrical and chemical signals.  This distance between two dendrites of neighboring neurons is called a synapse and it is small enough to allow an electrical or chemical signal to cross it.  Neurons are able to maintain an electrical voltage potential by utilizing ion gradients using sodium, potassium, and calcium pumps.

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