Module 03

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Brain's Building Blocks

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Module 03

  1. 1. Module 3Module 3 Brain’s Building BlocksBrain’s Building Blocks
  2. 2. DEVELOPMENT OF THE BRAIN • fact that your brain does not develop into a nose is because of instructions contained in your genes • Genes – chains of chemicals that are arranged like rungs on a twisting ladder – there are about 20,000-25,000 genes that contain chemical instructions that equal about 300,000 pages of written instructions – genes program the development of individual parts into a complex body & brain
  3. 3. DEVELOPMENT OF THE BRAIN (CONT.)
  4. 4. DEVELOPMENT OF THE BRAIN (CONT.)
  5. 5. STRUCTURE OF THE BRAIN • Human brain: – is shaped like a small wrinkled melon – 1,350 grams (less than 3 pounds) – pinkish-white color – consistency of firm Jell-O – Fueled by sugar (glucose) – 1 trillion cells divided into • glial cells • neurons
  6. 6. STRUCTURE OF THE BRAIN (CONT.)
  7. 7. STRUCTURE OF THE BRAIN (CONT.) • Glial cells • 3 Functions: – guide the growth of developing neurons – wrap around neurons and form an insulation to prevent interference from other electrical signals – release chemicals that influence a neuron’s growth and function
  8. 8. STRUCTURE OF THE BRAIN (CONT.) • Neuron – a brain cell with 2 specialized extensions – one extension is for receiving electrical signals – the other extension is for transmitting electrical signals
  9. 9. GROWTH OF NEW NEURONS • Can a brain grow new neurons? – canary brain • can grow about 20,000 neurons a day during the spring (learns new breeding song) – primate and human brain • researchers conclude that adult monkey and human brains are capable of growing relatively limited numbers of neurons throughout adulthood • Some new neurons play important role in continuing to learn and remember new things (hippocampus)
  10. 10. GROWTH OF NEW NEURONS (CONT.) • Repairing the Brain – advances in stem research suggest the human brain may be able to grow more neurons – repair damages: • accident • disease • Alzheimer’s
  11. 11. PARTS OF THE NEURON
  12. 12. PARTS OF THE NEURON • Cell Body – large egg-shaped structure that provides fuel, manufactures chemicals, and maintains the entire neuron in working order
  13. 13. PARTS OF THE NEURON • Dendrite – branchlike extensions that arise from the cell body – receive signals from other neurons, muscles, or sense organs – pass these signals onto the cell body
  14. 14. PARTS OF THE NEURON • Axon – a single threadlike structure that extends from and carries signals away from the cell body to neighboring neurons, organs, or muscles
  15. 15. PARTS OF THE NEURON • Myelin Sheath – looks like separate tubelike segments composed of fatty material that wraps around and insulates an axon – prevents interference from electrical signals generated in adjacent axons
  16. 16. PARTS OF THE NEURON • End bulbs or Terminal bulbs – located at extreme ends of the axon’s branches – miniature container that stores chemicals called neurotransmitters (used to communicate with neighboring cells)
  17. 17. PARTS OF THE NEURON • Synapse – infinitely small space (20-30 billionths of a meter) – exists between and end bulb and its adjacent body organ (e.g. heart), muscles (e.g. head), or cell body
  18. 18. ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND NEURONS • Alzheimer’s disease – excessive buildup of gluelike substances – gradually destroy neurons • Researchers recently discovered an experimental vaccine that may help stop the buildup of these gluelike, killer substances and they continue to search for other interventions
  19. 19. ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE AND NEURONS
  20. 20. PERIPHERAL & CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM • Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) – made up of nerves that are located throughout the body, except in the brain & spinal cord • Central Nervous System (CNS) – made up of neurons located in the brain & spinal cord
  21. 21. PERIPHERAL & CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (CONT.) • Nerves – stringlike bundles of axons and dendrites that come from the spinal cord and are held together by connective tissue – carry information from the senses, skin, muscles, and the body’s organs to and from the spinal cord – nerves in the peripheral nervous system have the ability to grow or reattach if severed or damaged
  22. 22. SENDING INFORMATION: ACTION POTENTIAL SEQUENCE – axon membrane has chemical gates that can open to allow electrically charged particles to enter or can close to keep out these particles – ions are chemical particles that have electrical charges – opposite charges attract and like charges repel
  23. 23. SENDING INFORMATION: ACTION POTENTIAL SEQUENCE (CONT.)
  24. 24. SENDING INFORMATION: ACTION POTENTIAL SEQUENCE (CONT.) • Resting state – the axon has a charge – the charge results from the axon membrane separating positive ions on the outside from negative ions on the inside
  25. 25. SENDING INFORMATION: ACTION POTENTIAL SEQUENCE (CONT.) • Action potential – tiny electric current that is generated when the positive sodium ions rush inside the axon – enormous increase of sodium ions inside the axon causes the inside of the axon to reverse its charge – inside becomes positive and outside becomes negative
  26. 26. SENDING INFORMATION: ACTION POTENTIAL SEQUENCE (CONT.)
  27. 27. SENDING INFORMATION: NERVE IMPULSE • Sending information – action potential is a tiny electrical current that is generated when the positive sodium ions rush inside the axon – the enormous increase of Na ions inside the axon causes the inside to reverse its charge – the inside becomes positive & the outside becomes negative
  28. 28. SENDING INFORMATION: NERVE IMPULSE (CONT.) • All-or-None law – if an action potential starts at the beginning of the axon, the action potential will continue at the same speed segment to segment to the very end of the axon • Nerve impulse – nerve impulse is made up of 6 action potentials, with the first occurring at the beginning of the axon
  29. 29. TRANSMITTERS • A transmitter is a chemical messenger that transmits information between nerves and body organs, such as muscles and heart • Excitatory and Inhibitory – excitatory transmitters • open chemical locks and turn on neurons – inhibitory transmitters • block chemical locks and turn off neurons
  30. 30. NEUROTRANSMITTER • Neurotransmitters – dozens of different chemicals that are made by neurons and then used for communication between neurons during the performance of mental or physical activities
  31. 31. ALCOHOL • Alcohol (ethyl alcohol) – A psychoactive drug that is classified as a depressant, which means that it depresses the activity of the central nervous system
  32. 32. ALCOHOL
  33. 33. WHAT DOES ALCOHOL DO? • Alcohol affects the brain by imitating a naturally occurring neurotransmitter, GABA • GABA Neurons – GABA neurons have chemical locks that can be opened by chemical keys in the form of the neurotransmitter GABA • GABA Keys – alcohol molecules so closely resemble those of the GABA neurotransmitter that alcohol can function like GABA keys and open GABA receptors – when GABA neurons are excited, they decrease neural activity
  34. 34. WHAT DOES ALCOHOL DO? (CONT.) • many people drink alcohol to feel less anxious and more relaxed • appears to be a biological link between alcohol and anxiety • deficiency in a specific brain protein is associated with high anxiety and excessive alcohol use
  35. 35. NEW TRANSMITTERS • Number of well-known neurotransmitters, such as – Acetylcholine – GABA – Norepinephrine – Epinephrine – Dopamine – Serotonin
  36. 36. NEW TRANSMITTERS (CONT.) • New – Endorphins (1970’s) • painkiller similar to morphine • decreases effects of pain during great bodily stress – Anandamide (1990’s) • similar to THC (active ingredient in marijuana) – involved with » memory » motorcoordination » emotions
  37. 37. NEW TRANSMITTERS (CONT.) • Anandamide may help people regulate emotions, which would help them to better deal with anxiety and stress – Nitric oxide (mid-1990’s) • may be involved in regulating aggressive and impulsive behaviors
  38. 38. REFLEX • Reflex – unlearned, involuntary reaction to some stimulus – neural connections underlying a reflex are prewired by genetic instructions
  39. 39. REFLEX (CONT.) • Reflex sequence – sensors • sensors trigger neurons that start the withdrawal effect – afferent neurons • carry information from the senses to the spinal cord
  40. 40. REFLEX (CONT.) – Interneuron • relatively short neuron whose primary task is making connections between other neurons – Efferent neuron • carry information away from the spinal cord to produce responses in various muscles and organs throughout the body
  41. 41. REFLEX (CONT.)
  42. 42. PARKINSON’S DISEASE • Parkinson’s Disease – includes symptoms of tremors and shakes in the limbs, a slowing of voluntary movements, muscle stiffness, problems with balance and coordination and feelings of depression – as the disease progresses, patients develop a shuffling walk and may suddenly freeze in space for minutes or hours at a time – Michael J. Fox
  43. 43. PARKINSON’S DISEASE (CONT.) • Parkinson’s Disease – it is caused by destruction of neurons that produce dopamine – L-dopa is a medication that boosts the levels of dopamine in the brain – eventually the drug causes involuntary jerky movements – after prolonged use, L-dopa’s beneficial effect may be replaced by unwanted jerky movements
  44. 44. EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENTS • Sterotaxic procedure – fixing a patient’s head in a holder and drilling a small hole through the skull – the holder has a syringe that can be precisely guided into a predetermined location in the brain
  45. 45. EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENTS
  46. 46. EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENTS
  47. 47. EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENTS • Removing part of the brain – Thalamotomy (Michael J. Fox) • Brain Stimulation – electrodes placed into thalamus – patient controls amount of stimulus – helps reduce tremors
  48. 48. EXPERIMENTAL TREATMENTS

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