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Chapter 6

PSYCH 1XX3 Chapter 6: Module 6- Neuroscience 2

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McMaster University
Joe Kim

Module 6- Neuroscience 2 Structure of the Brain - Dorsal: refers to the back of the axis (behind neuraxis) - Ventral: refers to the front of the axis (in front of neuraxis) - Rostral: means towards the top of the axis (towards head) or (towards face) - Caudal: means towards the bottom of the axis (closer to toe) or (towards back of head) - Medial: towards the midline - Lateral: towards the outside Studying the Brain - The vast majority of information regarding the brain comes from experiments on animals, tissues or reduced preparations - Phineas Gage, 1848 o Foreman of a railway construction crew in charge of explosives to remove large sections of rock from path of the railroad o Athletic o Intelligent o Full of life o Respected by his crew o Accident, where a 3 foot iron rod completely went through his left cheekbone and through the top of his skull o Gage survived and expected some loss of vision and facial disfigurement o After he became a selfish and profane person o He became erratic and unreliable and had problems forming plans o Proves that the brain has specialized structures for complex behaviors - Limitation is that the case studies of human lesions id that they are rarely isolated to specific structures - Problem can be overcome by studying specific brain lesions inducing animals models - The accuracy of this emerging understanding of structure and function can depend on the precision of the lesion - The brain is highly interconnected - A variety of behaviors are affected by a single lesion - Another approach is to electrically stimulate an area of the brain and observe the result on behavior to build an anatomical map related to function - This technique was used extensively by the Canadian neurologist Dr. Wilder Penfield as he performed brain surgery to treat patients will epileptic seizures - Penfield perfected the Montreal Procedure to treat patients with seizures - This technique left the main areas of the brain intact - Penfield used a thin wire carrying a small electric charge to stimulate the cortex - The stimulation leads the neurons to fire and you can now create a map of the perceptual processes and behaviors specific to the brain - Electrodes can also be used to record ongoing electrical activity in the brain through single cell recording techniques - A small electrode is inserted into the nervous tissue of a live animal model with its tip held just outside the cell body, from this neural activity will be recorded while a task is being performed - The pattern of firing reveals a neurons functional role - Computed tomography (CT) pic of brain o A series of x-ray slices are taken and pieced together to produce a relatively quick and inexpensive picture of the brain o Help diagnose injuries o Low resolution o Hard to examine fine brain anatomy - Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)  pic of brain more detailed/specific o Powerful magnetic fields are generated, while align the hydrogen atoms found in the brain o While the atoms are aligned the MRI will localize tissue very precisely throughout the brain - Positron Emission Tomography (PET) how brain function relates to cognitive tasks o Used to learn how brain function relates to cognitive tasks such as language and memory o A radioactive tracer of oxygen or glucose is injected into the bloodstream o The radioactive molecules make their way to the brain and are used in metabolic processes which are detected by the PET scan o The active brain areas will use more metabolic resources and so the image will be relatively well constructed o Relatively invasive procedure - Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) how brain function relates to cognitive tasks o Produces a clear image of the brains activity without the use of a radioactive tracer o Works by measuring the blood oxygen dependent signal, and uses many of the same principles as the MRI o Measure the relative use of oxygen throughout the brain o Operates under the same basic assumption that more active and intact parts of the brain will use more metabolic resources o Provides a rough image if brain activation o Oxygen spikes a few seconds after the activity in the brain - Electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes measure brain activity o The electrical activity of the brain can be recorded through a cap with very sensitive electrodes o Provides a rough image of the brains overall activity from population of neurons o By averaging trails the noise can be cancelled out making it more exact and reliable - Single cell recording electrodes measure brain activity o Scull cut open and insert things in the brain The Brain Regions- Hindbrain and Midbrain - All information into and out of the brain travels through cranial nerves or spinal cord, which connects to the hindbrain at the base of the skull - Hindbrain consists of the o Medulla o Pons o Reticular formation o Cerebellum - Evolutionary the oldest parts of the brain - Involved in the regulation of vital bodily functions - Medulla o Regulates breathing o Digestion o Heart rate - Pons o Role in movement o Auditory perception o Emotional processing - Reticular formation o Arousal o Motivation o Circadian rhythm o Posture o Balance - Cerebellum o Coordinated movement - Midbrain o Relatively small region that lies between the hindbrain and the forebrain o Divides into two major subdivision ▪ Tectum ▪ Tegmentum o Involved in perception, arousal and motor control o Involved in processing visual and auditory information - Tectum contains two primary structures: the superior and inferior colliculi - Tectum is involved in functions related to perception and action - The superior colliculus is thought to be involved in eye movement and visual reflexes - The inferior colliculus is thought to be involved in auditory integration - The tegmentum contains a number of structures including o The red nucleus: which contributes to motor control o Substania Nigra: which plays a role in reward-related behaviors through the release of dopamine The Brain Regions- The Forebrain - Largest region of the brain - Contains structures involved in complex functions such as emotion, memory, perception and thought - Uppermost region of the brain - Hypothalamus o Controls integrative functions including stress response, regulating energy metabolism by influencing feeding and digestion o Regulating reproduction through hormonal control of mating, pregnancy and lactation o 4 F’s ▪ Fight ▪ Flight ▪ Feeding ▪ Fucking (Reproduction) o Regulates through neurons via the pituitary gland - Pituitary Gland o Lies inferior to the hypothalamus o Regulates a vari
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