Week 2

This week’s hot topics included the neuronal membrane, ion channels and action potential. The main points of these topics were already familiar to us from previous studies, but there were also many new smaller things to learn. And of course it never hurts to repeat things!

After watching the lecture and reading the chapters of the book we had Zoom meeting where we discussed what we thought about the topics. We agreed that it is a little bit weird that behind the complex brain function can be something as simple as ion channels. Also it was small surprise how many of the congenital disorders are caused by malfunction of ion channels. Small problems can cause something big. We have never think about that ion channels affect almost everything. And at the same time, the idea of how many little things need to work perfectly for the normal brain function was somehow concretized.

We considered the treatment of those congenital disorders. We spoke how these treatments work, and especially whether they only treat the symptoms or whether it is possible in some way to change something else that compensates for the malfunction of the ion channels. We also thought that is possible that a change in temperature caused by high fever may also affect the function of ion channels.

We let our imaginations run wild and ended up wondering if it would be possible to come up with new ways to activate the brain. Nowadays if we wanna activate brain area we can use TMS or electrodes placed in the brain to which electricity is pumped. The book reported on rat tests in which rat genes had been manipulated so that the neuronal firing can now be controlled with blue light. Could it be possible to do that for brain neurons and then give some light pulses for example with a fun hat and activate one specific area of the brain in this way.