Electricity and electrophysiology summary

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Biological Sciences
Stephen Reid

Electricity and electrophysiology Direct and Alternating Current There are two types of electrical current flow that need to be considered when thinking about electrical signals in biologicalphysiological systems; direct current and alternating current. In a direct current (DC) electrical circuit, electrons move through the circuit from the negative end of the power source (battery) to the positive end. In between the two ends of the battery they 5,884;07,O4, 9K04-M0.994-054Z070 %K024;02039410O0.trons in this single direction powers the load. In biological systems, a direct current signal is one that deviates from baseline (or zero) in one direction at a time. Blood pressure is an example of this. Although blood pressure can go up and down, it does not routinely make continual alternating positive and negative deflections from the baseline level. Blood pressure may rise, for example, during exercise and decrease, for example, during sleep but it is not changing up and down on a constant basis. In an alternating current (AC) electrical circuit, the direction of electron flow is constantly reversing. In this case, it is simply the movement of electrons over the load that is required to power it. The electrons do not need to flow constantly in one direction. In biological systems, an AC signal is one that routinely changes polarity. For example, during an action potential membrane potential becomes more positive than resting potential and then more negative. This always h
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