Week 3: Synaptic transmissions

Last weeks subject covered the firing of the neuron signal, but still left out one thing: where does the initial potential come from, that will trigger the voltage gated ion channels? Well, this weeks subject answered that and also gave a glimpse on how the neural computing builds up.

With electrical engineering background, understanding the electrical transmissions in neurons was quite simple, even though it was based on ions flowing rather than just plain electrons. What I was not so familiar with was the chemical transmission in synapses. It is interesting to think, that the brain is not only an electrical device, but also chemical states affect it. We know this from our everyday life (Caffeine makes you feel awake for example), but it is really interesting to actually start to discover what the actual effects of chemicals are on the brain, and even further, how could one with this knowledge optimize ones brain performance by consuming right kind of foods and substances. For example, what are the optimal foods to eat if you need to pull an all nighter, or does the Ballmer Peak really exist?

Posted by Eero Prittinen

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