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L02-2010 - BioNB222 Cornell University Spring 2010 Joseph...

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BioNB222 Spring 2010 Cornell University Joseph Fetcho Lecture 02. Electrical signaling in the nervous system Reading Assignment Purves, D. , Augustine, G. J., Fitzpatrick, Hall, W.C. LaMantia, A.-S., McNamara, J.O. and White, L. E. (2008) Neuroscience. Sinauer Associates, Inc. Sunderland, Mass. Chapter 2. Learning Objectives 1. To learn the electrical events in neurons that need to be explained at a cellular level. 2. To learn the concept of an ion gradient across a semipermeable membrane and how it can give rise to potential differences across membranes. 3. To learn the Nernst equation, which describes the potential difference in a case where only one ion is permeable. Lecture Outline 1. Introduction: much of the function of the nervous system depends upon electrical signaling. A. From the last lecture we know that the unit of the nervous system is the neuron and there are lots of them, about 10-100 billion, in a human brain. B. The neurons are wired into complex circuits with connections or synapses between them - about 1000 per cell, so about 10-100 trillion connections in the brain. Proper functioning depends on rapid, reliable communication among these cells and this is accomplished by electrical and chemical means. C. Importance of electrical function is demonstrated by a few examples– Animals target electrical function to kill other animals in defense or for food. Humans target electrical function to kill other humans.
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