Week 38: lectures 2,3 and 4

The lectures were interesting in our opinion. We especially liked the illustrative pictures and graphs about the anatomy and operations of the human brain. We think it really showed that the lecturers were interested in the topics when they started talking about some stuff in more depth which improved the experience. The exercise session on Zoom was a nice bonus but nothing special, just questions and answers. An interesting thing about the lectures was also that they were a bit like following a discussion between experts as it wasn’t only one person talking but instead many professionals sharing their opinions on a topic.

We found it actually quite interesting and a bit difficult that we have to do a learning diary in groups.

Some questions that came into our minds:

  • I didn’t quite grasp why nodes of ranvier speed up action potential. Why is the action potential faster with a myelin sheath? Does it help prevent ionic leakage?
  • Do you think it’s ever possible to fully solve what consciousness is and what causes it? If so, when do you think this will approximately happen and how will it affect brain research and everything else?
  • Can it ever be possible to slow down processes that cause aging in the brain, maybe prolonging the human life by hundreds of years?

We were very surprised to learn how much impact the cell membrane has. At least I had originally thought that it’s mostly just to keep cytoplasm inside the cell, but it’s a lot more.

We feel like many of the concepts discussed in the lectures and in the book (chapter 2 in particular) should be somewhat familiar from upper secondary school, but we have found out that we have forgotten a lot of the terms and concepts. Simple things such as enzymes, cell biology, and lipids “sound” familiar, but it’s satisfying to learn them again and solidify existing knowledege.

One simple problem we found was the sheer material that one has to read and understand from the book in order to actually learn everything relevant. One of us read several chapters this week and each chapter took several hours to fully grasp. The other one didn’t have the time or energy to tackle the long chapters and thus has only learned bits and pieces from the lectures. Maybe the lectures could be a more complete way of learning and the slideshows could have a little more info on them, and then the book could just be complementary learning if you want to learn more?

One thought these chapters and topics brought to my mind is: how does alcohol actually affect our brains both in the short term and the long term. At least for me, understanding this probably will affect my own alcohol consumption.

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