Burger_083107 - Biosciences in the 21st century Lecture 2...

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Biosciences in the 21st century Lecture 2: Innovations and Challenges Dr. Michael Burger
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Outline: Review of last time Organization of the nervous system (in brief) The mapping concept Bionic implants and our cyborg future Auditory function and cochlear implants Restoring paralysis: promising technology
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Nervous system is segmented in invertebrates Each segment is controlled by its “own” bit of brain
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and in vertebrates ........ Each segment has repeatable structures Human stage 11 embryo http://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/wwwhuman/Stages/Stage10L.htm
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Afferents (inputs; i.e. sensory neurons) Efferents (outputs; i.e. motor neurons) Each segment has its own inputs and outputs
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Let’s consider the somatosensory system ....
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each vertebral segment is connected to a particular patch of skin The area of skin innervated by one segment is called a “dermatome” You will see that this organization is preserved at every level of processing
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The brain (also segmented) has its own afferent and efferent nerves
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The neocortex is an elaboration of the foremost segment, and it has a highly organized structure
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http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/farabee/BIOBK/cerebrum_1.gif The cortex has functionally distinct regions
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http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/farabee/BIOBK/cerebrum_1.gif The cortex has functionally distinct regions a closer look at the somatosensory cortex...
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The somatosensory and motor cortex contain orderly maps of the body surface Motor somatosensory The representation is distorted because more brain tissue is devoted to the most sensitive areas
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This distorted representation gave rise to the concept of the homunculus or “little man in the brain”
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This distorted representation gave rise to the concept of the homunculus or “little man in the brain” The point is: the brain is organized into maps of important features and functions
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