Neuroscience 1 - Neuroscience 1 Module 1: Introduction to...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Neuroscience 1 Module 1: Introduction to Neuroscience: The brain is wrinkled, soft, wet, the size of a 3 pound cantaloupe and feels like a ripe avocado. Each of the 100 billion neurons can make contact with 10,000 other neurons to create a vast network. The brain is the seat of everything, our personality, our perceptions and our thoughts. How can we begin the task of understanding the mental processes by which we learn, feel and act and relate it to the brain? One historical approach has been to separate the mental processes of the mind from the physical processes of the brain as formalized by the 17 th century scientist and philosopher Rene Descartes. He thought the mind was seen as a separate entity existing outside of our biology, yet in control of our actions and thoughts. They physical brain serves as a connection between the mind and the body. In modern times, the challenge for neuroscience is to understand how the biological brain produces the mental processes of the mind. Neuroscientists work with psychology and other sciences as they conduct their work at a number of different levels, studying the molecules, cells and systems of the brain. Neuron: the fundamental building block of the nervous system How are neurons organized into signalling pathways and how do they communicate via synaptic transmission? Module 2: The Neuron: There are about 100 billion specialized cells, neurons. It is about the same number of stars in the Milky Way. If you could count one neuron per second it would take you over 3000 years to complete your tally. Neurons are cells specialized for communication. Neurons are good at communication because of their unique structure. They contain two distinct zones: a receptive zone designed to receive signals from other neurons, and a transmission zone designed to pass on signals to other cells. The receptive zone is made up of dendrites branching out from the cell body. The cell body contains most of the vital organelles which keep the cell functioning. Branching from the cell body are a number of projections called dendrites which look like the long, stretching branches of a tree. These dendrites reach out to other neurons, and together with the cell body receive signals to be relayed through the axon. Once a neuron receives a signal in the receptive zone, it is passed down a long fibre called the axon, which can vary in length. At the end of the axon, we approach the transmission zone of the neuron to find another cluster of the branches; these branches at the end of the neuron look like little feet and are called end-feet or terminal boutons. They transmission zone is made up of axon and terminal boutons. The terminal boutons reach out and made connections with receptive zone of nearby neurons to transmit the signal further. Neurons are clearly the star players and make up most of the cells of the brain.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 04/17/2009 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 1XX3 taught by Professor Kim during the Spring '09 term at McMaster University.

Page1 / 7

Neuroscience 1 - Neuroscience 1 Module 1: Introduction to...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online