Week 2 – Neurons and action potentials
The second week of the course continued directly on the topics of the last lecture. Discussion was mainly about communication between the neurons and how this communication happens and what causes it. As in last week, most of the information in Lecture 2 was already familiar. However, this week’s information was very helpful to remind me of some things that I had forgotten. As well, assignment exercise 1 was nicely based on the already discussed topics and this way boosted the learning!
In addition to information that was already familiar, the second lecture and the related book chapters also gave new knowledge and insights about what was already known. For example, generation and propagation of an action potential were explained much more in detail than what I already knew about them. This weeks materials and exercises were very helpful in understanding how the neural system really conveys the information in the human body.
Even though much of the information was repetition, it is always fascinating to think that complex brain functions can be in theory reduced back to a sum of action potentials moving through single neurons. Also it is interesting how major disorders in the brain can be a result of small issues in the propagation of action potentials. For example in MS disease where the myelin sheets are damaged and thus cause a variety of serious symptoms, it is very important that we learn the fundamentals of the transmission of action potentials to be able to solve these issues in the future.