This week’s exercise concentrated excessively naming different parts of the brain. It was quite difficult, especially as multiple parts were new but in addition, it was hard to name the parts that were already familiar in English as they have been previously taught in Finnish. Building the brain out of putty, however, helped to remember different brain parts like Medulla, Cerebellum, Pons, Basal Ganglia and Hypothalamus.
There were many properties of synapses and dendrites introduced this week that were new to us. The fact that inhibitory synapses completely kills the action potential was a surprise. Also that the dendrites are passive cables rather than active, like the axon, was new information. This strengthened the picture of complexity of already complicated picture of the network of neurons in the brain.
This week’s lecture quiz was quite difficult. Even though, you would have read the chapters the open questions were kind of difficult. Especially when you cannot remember everything from the book. Multiple choice questions would be therefore more suitable as lecture quiz questions. So overall, this week consisted of many new things that were needed to internalize quickly.
Among all the new topics of the previous week, action potential was the concept that we consider it as an important part of our nervous system. One of the big questions that we tried to answer was the relation between EEG signal and action potential. Since EEG is a signal reflecting the electrical activity of the brain, action potential can be the small components of this signal. If we simplify the definitions of EEG and action potential as well as the theories about their origins, we still have some pieces of this puzzle missing, some questions such as, how can we measure EEG signal to reflect the firing of potentials most? Should EEG be considered as a measure of the inputs to a group of neurons, or the outputs of that group? Are postsynaptic potentials the only factor contributing in generation of EEG? What are the limitations of EEG measurement? How well can we define the connection between action potential and EEG?
Väinö, Maria & Ruhoollah