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Neuroscience and behaviour

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Steve Joordens

Neuroscience and behaviour (chapter 3) Neurons: the origin of behaviour - Neurons: cells in the nervous system that communicate with one another to perform information processing tasks The discovery of how neurons work - Santiago ramon y cajal, new technique for staining neurons in the brain - Information processing units of the brain and that even though he saw gaps between neurons they had to communicate in some way Components of the neuron - Cell body: the part of the neuron that coordinates information processing tasks and keeps the cell alive (soma) protein synthesis, energy production, metabolism take place here - Nucleus, houses chromosomes that contain your dna or the genetic blueprint of who you are - Dendrites: receives information from other neurons and relays it to the cell body - Axon: transmits information to other neurons, muscles, or glands - Myelin sheath: an insulating layer of fatty material - Glial cells: support cells found in the nervous system, digest parts of dead neurons, provide physical and nutritional support for neurons - Myelin performs this same function for an axon - Dennyelinating diseases - Synapse: the junction or region between the axon of one neuron and the dendrites or cell body of another Major types of neurons - Sensory neurons: neurons that receive information from the external world and convey this information to the brain via the spinal cord - Motor neurons: carry signals from the spinal cord to the muscles to produce movement, have long axons that can stretch to muscles at our extremities - Interneurons: connect sensory neurons, motor neurons, other interneurons, carry information from sensory neurons into the nervous system to motor neurons, and still others perform a variety of information processing functions within the nervous system Neurons specialized by location - Purkinje cells are a type of interneuron that carries information from the cerebellum to the rest of the brain and spinal cord - Pyramidal cells, found in the cerebral cortex have a triangular cell body and a single long dendrite among many smaller dendrites - Bipolar cells The electrochemical actions of neurons: information processing - Conduction and transmission - Resting potential: the difference in electrical charge between the inside and outside of a neuron’s cell membrane - Arise from the difference in concentrations of ions inside and outside the neuron’s cell membrane - Negative The action potential: sending signals across the neuron - Action potential: an electric signal that is conducted along the length of a neuron’s axon to the synapse - Electric shock reaches a certain level. Threshold - Shock below threshold tiny signals - All or none - There is change in the state of the axon’s membrane channels - Refractory period: the time following an action potential during which a new action potential cannot be initiated - Myelin sheath - Nodes of ranvier Chemical signaling: transmission between neurons - Terminal buttons: knoblike structures that branch out from an axon - Neurotransmitters: chemicals that transmit information across the synapse to a receiving neuron’s dendrites - Receptors: parts of the cell membrane that receive the neurotransmitter and initiate or prevent a new electric signal - Presynaptic neuron - Postsynatptic neuron - Synaptic neuron - Reuptake occurs when neurotransmitters are reabsorbed by the terminal buttons of the presynaptic neuron’s axon - Enzyme deactivation - Neurotransmitters can bind to the receptor sites called autoreceptors on the presynaptic neurons - Autoreceptors detect how much of a neurotransmitter has been released into a synapse and signal the neuron to stop releasing the neurotransmitter when an excess is present Types and functions of neurotransmitters - Acetylcholine (ach): a neurotransmitter involved in a number of functions, including voluntary motor control - Dopamine: a neurotransmitter that regulates motor behaviour, motivation, pleasure, and emotional arousal - Glutamate: a major excitatory neurotransmitter involved in information transmission throughout the brain - Gaba(gamma aminobutyric acid): the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain - Norepinephrine: a neurotransmitter that influences mood and arousal - Serotonin: a neurotransmitter that is involved in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness, eating , and aggressive behaviour - Endorphins: chemicals that act within the pain pathways and emotion centers of the brain How drugs mimic neurotransmitters - Agonists: drugs that increase the action of a neurotransmitter - Antagonists: drugs that block the function of a neurotransmitter - Methamphetamine affects pathways for dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine at the neuron’s synapses, making it difficult to interpret exactly how it works - Amphetamine is a popular drug that stimulate the release of norepinephrine at the neuron’s synapses, prevent reuptake - Amygdale plays an important role in recognizing expressions of fear - Prozac, treat depression - Serotonin - Propranalol - Beta blockers The organization of the nervous system - Nervous system: an interacting network of neurons that conveys electrochemical information throughout the body Divisions of the nervous system - Central nervous system: composed of the brain and spinal cord
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