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PSYC37H3 (159)
Chapter 10

Chapter 10a.docx

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Anthony Ruocco

Chapter 10a A Primer of Neurobiological ConceptsClients need assistance with serious problems that are best understood from a neurological standpointo Problems typically arise due to a head injury learning disability memory impairment language disorder or attentional difficulties In the United States o Estimated 5 to 8 million children struggle with learning disabilityo 13 to 16 million adults live with memory loss or other symptoms related to dementiao 2 million people experience a head injury each year The Human Brain An Overview By convention the nervous system is divided into the central nervous system consisting of the brain and spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system that includes the cranial nerves and the network of the nerves emanating from the spinal cord The brain is intimately involved in thinking feeling and behaving Brain is the most protected brain in the human bodyo The first line of defence against physical trauma is the skull consisted of several intermeshed rigid bones that almost completely encase the braino Beneath the skull the brain is also surrounded by MENINGESa thin layering of three tough membranes that encases the brain and spinal cord providing additional protectiono The middle spongy level of the meninges is filled with another form of protection cerebrospinal fluid which buffers the brain against sudden acceleration and deceleration such as from a blow to the head Buoyancy reduces the effective weight of the organ to a few ounces vastly reducing pressure upon the base of the braino WITHOUT THIS THE BRAIN CAN BRUISE EASILY WITH THE RAPID MOVEMENT OF THE BRAINWhen unbuoyed the brain weights LESS than THREE POUNDSo It is composed principally of 5 elementsGray matter White matter Glial cells Cerebrospinal fluid CSFBlood vessels of the vascular system that provide the brain with oxygen adn nutrients Gray matter and White matter The gray matter consists of densely packed cell bodies of neurons which are also called nerve cellso When activated a neuron or nerve cell conducts an electrochemical impulse outward from the cell body down an elongated structure called the axonallow neurons to communicate with each othero Axons are wrapped in a white fatty substance called myelin sheath that provides insulation and enhances neural transmission The myelin sheath gives white matter its distinctive appearanceo Axons can be up to several inches in length and provide up to 90 percent of the total volume of some nerve cells A few neurological ailments called demyelinating diseases attack the white matter and impair the ability of nerve cells to communicate with one another MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS is probably the most common disorder of demyelinizationo Symptoms are highly varied depending upon the sites of attack upon the myelin sheath but might include blurred vision muscle weakness partial numbness and loss of coordinationCONTROVERSY for decades it has been believed that the neurons that compose the gray matter and white matter do not reproduce BUT recent research suggests that adult human may have a limited capacity to reproduce neurons especially in areas of the brain important for learning and memory Neurons communicate by sending all or no electrochemical impulses to one anothero Each neuron might send transmissions to thousands perhaps tens of thousands of other neurons at near and distant sites called synapseso Chemical communication across the synapses can occur up to a thousand times a second Glial Cells Glial cells constitute another important element of the brain Their functions include structural support for the neurons transport of nutrient to the neurons cleaning up brain debris and insulating axons in the central and peripheral nervous systems Neurons are involved in modulating the excitability of individual neurons They do not directly conduct nerve impulses they indirectly affect this crucial form of brain activityCerebrospinal Fluid and the Ventricular System Cerebrospinal fluid CSF is a clear liquid that is continuously produces and replenished within the ventricles The ventricles are hollow interconnected chambers found in the middle of the brain There are four ventricleso Two side by side ventricles called the LATERAL ventricleso Two midline ventricles known as THIRD and FORTH ventricles
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